This is my usual view on many of our walks. The path is frequently too narrow for us to walk side by side so my husband tends to go ahead, particularly on the way up. The night before a walk, he studies the map and plans the route – including alternatives to bring us off the fell more quickly should the weather change. He understands which elements of a walk I particularly enjoy and tries to incorporate them – a short, sharp ascent; a longer walk off the hill, preferably involving woodland and if he can find me a waterfall, I’m very happy indeed! In that pack on his back are essential supplies – extra clothing for us both, food, water, first aid equipment – and our walking poles are strapped to the back for when the terrain gets tough.
I’m very confident to ‘follow my leader’ on these walks. Of course, it doesn’t absolve me of my responsibilities. I have to show up, physically and mentally prepared for the challenges of the walk, correctly attired and equipped, and knowing what I’m doing. During the walk, I need to report back on how I’m feeling, if my feet are okay, if I’m happy on an exposed ridge, that I’ve got everything I need. However, I’m always reassured knowing that he is leading the walk.
What are his qualities which give me this reassurance?
I understand his vision: before we went away on this training trip, we discussed what type of walks we needed to do and how we were going to achieve our goal.
His forethought is evident. We’re not setting off without knowing the route, without adequate supplies or without knowing the weather forecast.
I trust him. We’ve walked together for a long time. I know that he knows what he’s doing. I know that we will turn back if conditions deteriorate, however near the summit we may be. I know he understands his limits and my limits. I know that his primary goal is for us to have a great walk together.
These are the key characteristics which make him a great leader for our treks. Of course, there are many different kinds of leaders and even more important leadership qualities.
So today’s pebble for you to turn over and consider:
What are the essential characteristics of leaders?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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