The leader leads from the front so that they can serve the group by observing situations well in advance. The leader needs to know where the group is heading, what the group should be aware of, what pace the group can go, and many more details.
The general leadership lesson: If you’re in a leadership position, be prepared to be known by your responsibilities not just by the title of “boss” or “manager”. Leadership is an important job that requires responsibility, empathy, larger perspective and communication.
There are many thing you have to watch out for on the trails. Some trails have steep cliffs, slippery pathways or uneven terrain. When we let one of the team member take the lead, we make it clear that they have to be cautious, look out for precautions.
The general leadership lesson: A good leader shall think through the different situation that the group may not have thought about or encountered yet and bring possible solutions to the team’s attention.
Sometimes the trail leader will see a rock or a low branch, but shall miss out on letting the others know. Sometimes they will have go far away to look for pathway or to look for water. Many a times they would do just at their own. That’s not the right approach,they must seek help.
The general leadership lesson: A good leader shall schedule enough time to have conversations about risks and issues with the team members.
The trek leader isn’t just responsible for watching out for precautions, they are also responsible for maintaining the right pace for the rest of the group. They have to be aware and mindful of whether someone is tired and has to walk slower. They also have to make sure to wait in case someone wants to stop for something. If the leader treks far ahead, then he can’t know if anybody in the group needs to slow down, and the group starts to get frustrated or nervous.
The general leadership lesson: A leader should be present to the team. A leader should also have a clear understanding of how fast their team can deliver so that team don’t take too long, on one hand, and so the team doesn’t get burnt out, on the other hand.
Many trails have rules. Some trails post signs asking that you stay on the trail for restoration / preservation purposes. Some trails post signs asking you to walk quietly to not disturb the wildlife. The leader must make sure that their actions and the actions of the team are in line with the posted signage or the unsaid local rules.
The general leadership lesson: The leader must make sure that the team’s actions are in line by the etiquette and ethics of industry you operate within.
Some people are upset about not being in the lead, they need to know that there is a “back of the line” leader. Followers can still look and listen for precautions and they can warn others.
The general leadership lesson: Because leadership is a set of tasks undertaken, and not a title, leadership qualities can be demonstrated by all the members, even if one is not officially in a leadership position.
If one of the team member is trying to run past the leader they are not only undermining the leader’s ability to do his job, but they are also not being a good team themselves. And, if one of the team member is arguing with or teasing the leader, neither the leader nor the follower can fulfill their responsibilities, and the entire group will suffer.
The general leadership lesson: When a follower is undermining the team’s leadership the team will have to suffer. Someone among the team should intervene to sort the problem.
One thing we learnt after many treks is that when two people would take the lead together, there was typically less conflict and higher quality leadership. On flip side, Sometimes, they’d get so engaged in discussion that they’d forget to communicate with the rest of the group, but I think that their attention to detail and responsibility will improve with every minor mistake.
The general leadership lesson: Leadership can be lonely. Sometimes a leader should ask another team member to co-lead with them and divide the reponsibilities.
The general leadership lesson: If you’re in a leadership position, seek out the help of someone who is more experienced than you are. They can help you think through things that you’ve never encountered before and may not know how to respond to properly. Also it’s a good idea to be coached to be prepared for a Leadership role.