Have you got what it takes to lead?

[Thanks to Belinda Jefferies for this post – well said!]

Pointing the way

When I’m walking with the club, the inevitable conversation arises about our need for more leaders to provide a well balanced and interesting program. Many members of the club are unsure about how much time and effort it requires and some simply do not have the confidence to give it a go.

Leading does require some skill, but more it requires common sense, patience and enthusiasm.

Why do I like to lead?

The first reason and the one you should consider first is, you get to walk where and when you want! I love this, as like many of you, I have a long list of walks I would like to do in my lifetime and it is more fun with the group than on my own. Why wait for another person to put the walk on the program when you can do it yourself at a time that suits you. Nothing worse than having a walk on your list that comes up in the program on a work day, or a weekend you already have plans.

The next most important thing to consider is do you have time to plan the walk. Leading a group is so much more than just throwing your backpack in the car on the morning and hope it all goes ok. I always do a trial run (a recce) prior to my walk. Not all leaders do this, but it does save embarrassment on the day if you drive to the wrong track, find a bridge washed out or a tree down over the access road. Sometimes you can’t avoid this, but it does help, particularly when you are new to leading to give you confidence that you know what to expect.

On the day… LEAD. You are the leader and others have given you permission by attending your walk to lead. Stick to your plans, amend if necessary, but don’t let other well meaning walkers lead you astray. It is often very hard in the face of a tough decision, to abort your walk, cancel an ascent or change tack for an easier option on the day, but this is what the club is expecting you to do for the safety of your group.

That said, do seek council, particularly if you are needing to make difficult decisions. Consult the group, test the morale and decide what the safest, and most enjoyable option is going to be. Remember, not all decisions are going to please everyone, but they must keep your group safe.

Finally – enjoy leading. It is the most satisfying day out when you look at your muddy, weary, smiling group and realise this all happened because you took the risk and put your hand up to lead.

Please consider being a leader and speak to one of the walk mentors about getting the necessary experience to put your very own walks list on the program. You will not regret it, even on the hard days.

2 thoughts on “Have you got what it takes to lead?

  1. Very well said, if I may say so. The real test is not how things go on the good days, but how they go when Murphy’s Law strikes – it will, eventually. But as Belinda says, commonsense and leadership plus skills gets you and your group through the tough spots. Start where you are comfortable, and build from there.


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