IntroductionSuccessful leadership can be found in almost all spheres of life; however organisational and political contexts have received utmost attention. One reason for this bias is that leadership can make the difference between survival and failure of a firm or a country. Nonetheless, underrepresentation of leadership in the social realm must not be treated as an indication of its irrelevance. This paper will focus on an experience that occurred to me and my friends roughly one year ago. It was a demonstration of successful leadership and I frequently use memories from that time as a reminder of what innovative leaders should do.
The paper shall argue that effective or successful leadership occurs when team members indentify with team objectives and are motivated by them. Nature of incident At the time of the incident, we had gone for a hiking trip across seven hills near my home town. This was an expedition that none of us were familiar with- the location was quite new and all were uncertain about how long it would take, whether we would reach the other side of the hills and what needed to be done during the actual process.
We were five in number (Yvonne, Cathy, John Paul, Chris and I) yet four of us had never hiked before in our lives- only Chris had done this. Furthermore, two of the members had never met the rest of the group since they had learnt about the trip on face book. The plan was that members would meet at the bottom of the hills and then take things from there. No specifications had been made on who would step up and offer general direction in the group.
In fact, it had been a very abrupt event that had more questions than answers. The only issues we were sure about were that we were supposed carry foodstuffs and then hike. Since members did not know where they were going; we realised that we were in a deadlock and that something had to be done urgently. The more time we wasted, the harder it would be to complete all seven hills within the day. Some of us were already looking at how futile the expedition was going to be.
We all agreed that there was need for a team leader and asked members to volunteer. Chris - who had been to the location before - stepped in and changed everything. He first informed us that experts usually take eight to ten hours of steady climbing before completing all the hills. Since we were not hiking experts and time had already gone, then it was very unlikely that we would be able get through all seven hills. This implied that we had to reach halfway and start sloping back down.
Hikers who were interested in going the whole nine yards often started from one access road and ended at another – they would still get transport to their homes using either route. However, because we were not planning on doing the same, members had to follow the same route that they had used to climb up when going down the hills. He told us that if we did not schedule our time, then we would be stuck in the outdoors after dark- that was a possibility that none of us wanted to explore.
Seeing the sense in his assertions, the rest of us agreed that someone had to be in charge of the time; Cathy and John Paul volunteered so we voted and selected Cathy. Chris then informed us that we needed to have some series of activities that we would implement halfway through the journey. Most of us would be hungry by that time and all the snacks that we had carried needed to be eaten at some point.
We therefore decided to designate a program planner. Yvonne was selected for the task because she had planned activities for several birthday parties. She then decided that we would tell jokes, play spin the bottle and tell stories as we ate and rested. Someone else had to ensure that as we were hiking, no one was left behind. I was designated as the team’s observer- I was to deliberately move from the front to the back of the hiking team in order to ensure that we were all moving together.
We had to pay for entrance into the area and someone had to be in charge of finances - John Paul took on the role. Since Chris was the team leader, he would ensure that all members carried out their responsibilities and that we were going the right way. He also gave us morale for the hike by giving us a small motivational speech. He asserted that this would be a life changing event where we could all grow physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. He told us that hikes have altered people’s perception of themselves; it has increased their self esteem and stamina.
Chris even gave us a small story of someone who wanted to committed suicide but changed his mind after discovering his love for outdoor expeditions like hikes. In a very short time, we were transformed from a group of confused and demoralised would-be hikers to an energised and focused team.