What are the key lessons that you learned about yourself from the trekking experience?
The trekking experience taught me a lot about myself, especially when it comes to relearning old outdoorsman abilities and my interpersonal skills. I faced many old and new challenges that any hiker or camper would be familiar with, such as starting a fire. While my first attempt at it was unsuccessful, the experience allowed me to practice my fire making ability as well as my patience and perseverance in a difficult situation. While I was disappointed in the lack of fire, I was glad that I was able to persist on and only admit defeat when the weather worsened and not give up due to frustration.
I also learned a lot about how I communicate with others and how my emotions or state of mind affect my communication style. Sometimes having emotions aids me and helps me in getting my point across, but sometimes it can hinder progress and exchanging ideas with others
What new perspectives did you learn about leadership from the trek? Why?
I learned that leadership is not always a singular role, and the title can shift easily between individuals in a matter of minutes if the circumstances allow for it. Sometimes the leader was at the front of the line, trailblazing for the group through a snowed in trail, where other times the leader was just whoever decided to wake up first and determine if we were having cold cereal or pancakes for breakfast that morning. I found that especially in a group of peers the role of leadership could come and go easily based on whether or not people agreed with your ideas. In a more hierarchical or structured environment such as a workplace, this dynamic would not go over well. But with a group of otherwise equal individuals working toward a common goal, this dynamic can function.
What are three things that you can do to continue learning to be a better leader?
Three things I can do to become a better leader are practice communication skills, keep my emotions under control in high stress situations, and work on situational awareness. My communication with team members was often broken or interrupted and I had difficulty fully conveying my ideas in a clear and concise manner. I also would easily get frustrated in situations which would increase tension within the team. My situational awareness was usually pretty spot on in terms of physical risk, but I was not always aware of my team’s mood or general feelings toward a task or challenge.
What are some specific ways you can apply them to your own leadership development?
Continuing to practice better communication is an ongoing challenge for myself. I can always improve it by learning to use clearer language and demonstrating my thoughts with actions as well. Managing my temper has also been an ongoing challenge, but I have learned many strategies that tend to work for me such as walking away from a situation and allowing myself to come back to it with a clear head. However, in the heat of the moment I often forget to employ the tactics that work for me, and they only occur to me after the situation has passed.