One of the hardest tasks of leadership is understanding that you are not what you are, but what you're perceived to be by others - Edward L. Flom, CEO of Florida Steel
What is leadership? Is it a social phenomenon; humanistic quality; a trait; a team-task issue; a functional necessity; situational requirement; or even a transcendental state of being? There are numerable questions out there and the list keeps getting longer.
Leadership is a subject that over the years has been widely debated and studied in great depth. A simple web search reveals a multitude of processes for looking at leadership, countless methods of interpreting its meaning and many ways of developing an individual leadership style. There are various media used to develop leadership, from theoretical lectures to practical programmes. The new BCU / UKCC Star Awards, for instance, will be embracing the principles of leadership throughout all the levels whereas before it was confined to the 5*. Does that mean we will have better and more aware paddling leaders?
The topic has played a big part in my life as not only do I involved the role of training others to be leaders in various outdoor activities including sea kayaking, I've also spent the best part of four years engaged in research on the subject. And the answers I've come up with? I think its is possible to identify a number of qualities and core competencies that can be trained to allow anyone to take on the responsibilities of a leadership role. As with any skills development, leadership needs to be practised and the outcomes need to be reflected upon. Practitioners need to vary the ways in which they lead and individuals will benefit from understanding the sound theories behind what makes good leadership in reality.
What we must not forget though is that without followers you can't have leaders