Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photgrapher: Andy Foxx

Ry Craike giving it all up and bracing his ass for the ride after the ride

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bare Naked Climbers

Rock climbing, by its very nature, is an incredibly beautiful sport. Fluid, graceful motion, intense amounts of power, stunningly intricate technicalities & the pure harmonious blend of mind, body & spirit. Turns out there's a new trend, even purer, simpler and closer to nature. Climbing completely nude.

Photgrapher: Dean Fidelman

To do it completely naked simply captures that beauty perfectly. Without clothes, specialist shoes or other equipment, participants say the experience captures the 'true essence of the climbing spirit.'California based climber & photographer Dean Fidelman has even released calendars of the climbers in action, called "Stone Nudes."

Dean is reported to have said: 'This kind of climbing is the sport at its purest, and is intended to inspire and celebrate the human form. It requires no equipment which means climbers of all abilities can take part. Many are now participating in a sport that captures the true essence of the climbing spirit.'

To see more of Dean's work visit his website

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Marc Lleyellyn

Framed by a sheltering copse of pandanus trees and a pair of opportunistic wave-hunters, a lucent Burleigh Cove barrel (indicated by an inclined driftwood log) begs for a little social intercourse. John Witzig tells us that ... the pandanus is common to the east coast of Australia, from Crescent Head north ... and all over the Pacific. The seeds float around in the ocean until they find a hospitable shore to germinate on.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Action Centred Leadership

A general and popular model on a functional approach to leadership is associated with John Adair, who has a long pedigree in this area. Adair’s (1973) model is often cited within the outdoor and expedition literature (e.g. Barnes, 2002; Loynes, 2004; Ogilvie, 2005).

According to Adair's explanation, an action-centred leader must:

* Direct the job to be done (task structuring)
* Support and develop the individual people doing it
* Co-ordinate and foster the team as a whole

The effectiveness of the leader is dependent upon meeting three areas of need within the group: the need to achieve the common task, the need for team maintenance, and the individual needs of group members. Adair (1973) symbolised these needs, and associated interactions with three overlapping circles.

Adair’s (1973) popularised three-circle diagram is a simplification of the variability of human interaction, but is a useful tool for thinking about what constitutes an effective leader in relation to the job he or she has to do. The effective leader carries out the functions and exhibits the behaviours depicted by the three circles. Situational and contingent elements call for different responses by the leader. Hence imagine that the various circles may be bigger or smaller as the situation varies i.e. the leader will give more or less emphasis to the functionally-oriented behaviours according to what the actual situation involves.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Words of Wisdom

Photograher: Bob Greenfield

It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.

- Norman Vincent Peale -

Photograher: Bob Greenfield

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Leadership Development - Conditional Outdoor Leadership Theory

Image Credit: Paddle Golden Gate

Simon Priest and Robert Chase (1989) took the notion of situational leadership and adapted it specifically for outdoor practitioners. The Conditional Outdoor Leadership Theory (COLT) postulates that leaders must go beyond the dimensions of relationship, task, and group readiness and look at all the levels of conditional favourability (Martin et al., 2006; Priest & Gass, 2005). The COLT model presents a continuum of leadership styles from autocratic, through democratic, to abdicratic (Lewin et al., 1938; Katz et al., 1950; Tannenbaum & Schmidt, 1973) depending on whether the power to make decisions rests with the leader, is shared between the leader and group, or is abdicated to the group (Priest, 1986; Priest & Gass, 2005; Ogilvie, 2005). 

Figure 1: COLT Model (Priest & Gass, 2005, p 248)

According to this model, with increasing concern for a task, or getting the job done, good leaders adopt an autocratic leadership style. With increasing concern for relationships, effective leaders employ an abdicratic style. When these concerns are equally important, the model predicts that good leaders will utilize a democratic style. These styles are spread across a typical orientation matrix of (X-axis by Y-axis) concern for task and concern for relationships (Stogdill & Coons, 1957; Blake &  Mouton, 1978; Hersey & Blanchard, 1982). 

UThe proportion of style expressed also 'flexes' in response to a spectrum of factors (Z-axis) encompassing the favourability of conditions (Fiedler, 1967; Ogilvie, 2005). 

Image Credits: Mark Tozer Collection 

The degree to which there is a high or low 'favourability' within each of these conditions - environmental dangers, leader proficiency, group cohesion, member competence, and decision consequences will create circumstances conducive that shift the style in one direction or another. 

Low favourability: Dangers are extreme; leadership is deficient; the individuals are incompetent; there is poor group cohesion; consequences of decisions are major. A more autocratic style might be necessary.

Medium favourability: Dangers are acceptable; the leader is proficient; individuals are reasonably responsible; the group gets along fairly well; the consequences of decisions are mostly recoverable. Style depends on the "pull" of concerns.

High favorability: Dangers minimal; the leader is highly proficient; the are very competent; the group gets along very well; the consequence of decisions are minor. A more abdicratic style may be favorable.

In other words, immediate danger can require autocratic leadership, though a united and competent group may well flourish under an abdicratic leader, even under adverse conditions (Martin et al., 2006; Priest & Gass, 2005; Ogilvie, 2005). 

The key point to pick up here is that no one style can be right all the time. The most effective style for ‘good leadership’ is one that is flexible within changing situations (Dixon & Priest, 1991, Tozer et al, 2007). 

Ogilvie (2005) makes the remark that the model is a sophisticated one and considerable effort is required to grasp the essential meaning sufficiently to be of any use in practice. 

However, the COLT model is considered to be more finely tuned to the needs of outdoor learning where levels of concern for the care and well being of the individual are likely to be higher than in the cut-and-thrust realms of industry and commerce from which most other models and theories about leadership have originated. 

Image Credits: Mark Tozer Collection

Reference List 

Blake, R. R. & Mouton, J. S. (1978) The New Managerial Grid. Houston TX: Gulf 

Dixon, T., & Priest, S. (1991) Confirmation of the Conditional Outdoor Leadership 
Theory. Journal Of Adventure Education and Outdoor Leadership 8 (1)

Fiedler, F. E. (1967) A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness. New York: Mcgraw-Hill

Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. (1982) Management of Organisation Behaviour. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

Katz et al., (1950) 

Lewin, K., Lippitt, R., & White, R. K. (1938) An Experimental Approach to The 
Study of Autocracy and Behaviour. Sociometry 1: 292-300

Martin, B., Cashel, C., Wagstaff, M. & Breunig, M. (2006) Outdoor Leadership –
Theory and Practice. Champaign, Illinois. Human Kinetics

Ogilvie, K. (2005) Leading and Managing Groups in The Outdoors. Penrith: Institute 
for Outdoor Learning

Priest, S. (1988a) The Conditional Theory of Leadership: An Exercise in Flexibility. 
Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Leadership 6 (2): 10-17

Priest, S., & Chase, R. (1989) The Conditional Theory of Outdoor Leadership Style. 
Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Leadership 6 (3) 10-17

Priest, S., & Gass, MA (2005) Effective Leadership in Adventure Programming. Human Kinetics. Stogdill and Coons, 1957 

Stogdill & Coons, 1957

Tannenbaum, R. & Schmidt, W. H (1973) How To Choose a Leadership Pattern. 
Harvard Business Review 51 (3): 162-275

Tozer, M., Fazey, I., & Fazey, J. (2007) Recognizing and Developing Adaptive 
Expertise Within Outdoor and Expedition Leaders. Journal of Adventure 
Education & Outdoor Learning 7:1: 55 – 75

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Sean Davey

Jason Frederico comfortably ensconced, with Rockpiles thundering all around. Oahu, Hawaii.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Trait Approach to Leadership

The Trait Approach arose from the Great Man theory as a way of identifying the key characteristics of successful leaders. Surveys of early trait research by Stogdill (1948) and Mann (1959) reported that many studies identified personality characteristics that appear to differentiate leaders from followers. It was believed that through this approach critical leadership traits could be isolated and that people with such traits could then be recruited, selected, and installed into leadership positions. However, as Peter Wright has commented, ‘…others found no differences between leaders and followers with respect to these characteristics, or even found people who possessed them were less likely to become leaders’ (Wright, 1996: 34).

The issue with this approach lay in the fact that almost as many traits were identified as studies undertaken to find them. After several years, it became apparent that no consistent traits could be classified. Although some traits were found in a considerable number of studies, the results were generally inconclusive. Some leaders might have possessed certain traits but their absence did not necessarily mean that the person was not a leader. The table lists the main leadership traits and skills identified by Stogdill (1974).

Although there was little consistency in the results of the various trait studies, however, some traits did appear more frequently than others including: technical skill, friendliness, task motivation, application to task, group task supportiveness, social skill, emotional control, administrative skill, general charisma, and intelligence. Of these, the most widely explored has tended to be ‘charisma’.

LeUnes and Nation (2001) advise not to disregard the Trait Approach completely. They suggest a wiser course would be to integrate trait theory into more comprehensive ones that take into account other leadership variables. Contemporary theorists do just that, they see leadership as a function of the interaction of the leader, the followers and the situation. One conceptualisation of this interactive perspective is that of Hollander (1984) who speaks of Locus of Leadership. This locus is the point at which there is a convergence of these variables. Hollander’s model provides a convenient springboard for discussing variants of this general theme that have had more application.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Spencer Hornby/Stryker

The ancient Greeks detected essential elements that made up the world. For surfers, riding where Air meets Water meeting Earth - therein lies the Fire

- Jim Kempton -

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Great Man Theory

One early view, generally known as the Great Man Theory posits that great men shape history through their leadership. These great men would be leaders in any situation because they possess the necessary traits. The development of psychological tests added impetus to the Great Man notion because traits could be objectively measured, at least in theory. In reality, this approach suffered considerably under scrutiny.

According to Carron (1980), the only trait that holds up to inspection is intelligence. Bass (1997) cites twenty-three studies supportive of the position that leaders are intellectually brighter than so-called subordinates. Bass (1997) also cites only five references to the contrary, but also mentions five more indicating that large disparities in the intelligence of leaders and others can actually militate against successful leadership.

Even though intelligence does appear to be a consistent trait of leaders, comprehensive literature reviews (e.g. Campbell, Dunnette, Lawler & Weick, 1970; Mann, 1959) show only modest correlations between intelligence and leadership, relationships sufficiently modest so as to lead Carron (1980) to conclude that less than 10 percent of task performance can be explained by the leader’s intellectual ability. Cattell (1946) also pointed out that intelligence taken separately is still a multifaceted trait made up of many other characteristics, such as wisdom, maturity and perseverance, to name but a few (Hughes et al., 2008).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Silas Hansen

Transiting, the hero's journey, early 21st century. NZ surfer Clint Read, dressed as if for winter, navigating a knife edge in equatorial Indo.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spiritual and Transcendental Leadership

It has been suggested in several studies (Elliot, 2002; Jaworski, 1998; Kouzes & Posner, 2008, Wheatley, 2006) that the journey of leadership is an internal plight to connect with a higher influence and in order to truly understand the notion of leadership we must focus on the internal development of the leader. Emmons’ (1999) treatise on ‘ultimate concerns’ defines spirituality as that aspect of life concerned with ultimate purpose and meaning in life, which translates into recognition of the transcendent in everyday experience, a selfless focus, and a set of beliefs that facilitates a relationship with the transcendent.

One might infer from this definition that spirituality is the gestalt of all manifestations of an individual’s essence, and conclude that spirituality mobilises the individual towards meaningful or ‘transcendental accomplishment’. Thompson (2000) posits that transcendental accomplishment cannot occur without spirituality. Sanders et al., (2003) conceptualise Thompson’s postulation in a mode of ‘transcendental leadership,’ which proposes hierarchical levels of desired leadership accomplishments. The model proposes three structural levels of leadership accomplishment: (1) transactional, (2) transformational, and (3) transcendental. Essentially, the model proposes that leaders’ development along three dimensions of spirituality (consciousness, moral character and faith) is associated with development along these three levels of leadership accomplishment. Sanders et al., (2003) proposed theory of transcendental leadership is intended to provide a framework. The theory is not an attempt to redefine leadership; instead their theory purports to provide a more comprehensive view of leadership by connecting traditional theories to a meaningful domain, spirituality. Cardona (2000) first broached the idea of transcendental leadership and describes the concept as a contribution based exchange relationship. He views the transcendental leader as being concerned with his or her followers and tries to contribute to their personal development.

Basically, the theory incorporates the idea that developing spirituality along these three dimensions allows leaders to become less concerned about the constraining realities of the external environment, which can limit leader effectiveness, and be more concerned about an internal development that transcends realities as defined by the environment (Elliot, 2002; Emmons, 1999). Sanders et al., (2003) model attempts to embody the demands of society by explicitly suggesting spirituality as an important component of leadership. The model also helps to fill some of the gaps that currently exist in traditional leadership theories. Traditional theories, for a large part, tend to focus on external manifestations of leadership. At the personal/individual level, the model bridges the gap between spirituality and leadership by stimulating practical and scholarly consideration about their relationship (Sanders et al., 2003).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Andy Foxx

When you're surfing, you're living. Everything else is just waiting

- Josh Mitchell -

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Servant Leadership

Robert Greenleaf regards serve and lead as words that are overused as well as associated far too often with negative connotations. He poses the question of whether the ideas of servant leader can be ‘…fused in one real person, in all levels of status and calling’ (Greenleaf, 1977: 45). Greenleaf’s desire to establish a centre dedicated to this lifestyle came about from his interest in Journey to the East by Herman Hesse (1956).

As founder of the Centre for Servant Leadership, Greenleaf (1977) describes it as thus:

‘The servant-leader is servant first It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. He or she is sharply different from the person who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. For such it will be a later choice to serve, after leadership is established. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.’

‘The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, will they not be further deprived?’ (Greenleaf, 1977: 78).

Characteristics of Servant Leaders are as follows:

‘Servant-Leadership is a practical philosophy that supports people who choose to serve first, and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. Servant-leaders may or may not hold formal leadership positions. Servant-leadership encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening, and the ethical use of power and empowerment’ (Centre for Servant Leadership, 2008).

In a number of studies on leadership, this notion of being of service to others is considered to be one of the most important aspects of leadership (Bass & Bass, 2008; Kouzes, & Posner, 2003; Martin et al., 2006). The practice of servant leadership theory manifests itself in an ethic of care whereby the leader, who is a servant first, ensures that other people’s greatest needs are met (Greenleaf, 2002; Heifetz & Linsky, 2002; Hennessy, 2004).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Steve Conti

Sometimes in the morning, when it's a good surf, I go out there, and I don't feel like it's a bad world

- Kary Mullis -

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Feminist Leadership Theory

In numerous studies of mixed sex groups, males tend to emerge as leaders more often than females (Aries, 1976; Martin et al., 2006). In addition, leadership has traditionally been associated with stereotypical male traits and behaviours such as hierarchy, dominance, competition, authoritarianism and task orientation. It is less often associated with female values and qualities such as harmony; concern for people; unity; spirituality; caring; and relationship orientation (Henderson & Bialeschki, 1991).

Influential women have been classified in a number of ways throughout the course of history and many of these descriptors have been unflattering. Stereotypes of women leaders include the earth mother who brings home made biscuits to meetings; the mother figure who provides solace and comfort; the sex object who fails to establish herself as a professional; and the iron maiden who tries too hard to establish herself as a professional (Martin et al., 2006; McDermott, 2004).

It was believed that the 1990s would be the decade of women in leadership because more women were entering the workforce and because the authoritarian socialisation of males would not be as effective in the workplace of the future (McDermott, 2004). However, research suggests that despite the increase of woman in leadership roles, merely employing women does not suffice if women continue to remain powerless within organisations and if a more feminist model of outdoor leadership does not receive recognition (Martin et al., 2006; Saunders & Sharp, 2002).

Contemporary models of feminist leadership theory have focused on specific aspects of organisational structure change (Henderson, 1996). Within such models, attention is paid to both process and product whilst traditional notions of power are reconsidered allowing all people to experience the same potential for success. All persons additionally have the same potential to become leaders (Martin et al., 2006). A feminist transformative perspective of leadership would regard communication as upward, downward and lateral. According to Henderson ‘…the content of that communication would be orientated toward advice, counsel and collective decision making’ (Henderson, 1996: 114). Control and safety of the group would be everyone’s responsibility. Noddings (2003) supports this approach to leadership, which attempts to address underlying psychological structures, and suggests that leaders must develop an ethic of care that supersedes, and in essence, transcends gender differences.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Sean Davey

Young Hawaiian prince, Mason Ho, looking right at home despite his lower latitude. Chilly Northwest Tasmania.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Naked Ambition

Nicole Reinhardt is a German Olympian who, along with Katharina Scholz, Petra Niemann and Romy Tarangul, featured in the September issue of German Playboy Magazine. The magazine was printed in four different editions, each dedicated to one of the athletes. Reinhardt, a sprint kayaker, was pegged as a gold medal hopeful in the K-2 500.

Reinhardt began her career in the club WSV Lampertheim and at the federal state performance base Mannheim. At the 2007 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg, she got, together with Fanny Fischer, WC-Gold in the 200 and 500 metre sprint. The following year she qualified for the Olympic Summer Games in Beijing. Nicole achieved Olympic Gold together with Fanny Fischer, Katrin Wagner-Augustin and Conny WaƟmuth in the 500m K-4 sprint. In the K-2 class over the same distance she obtained fourth place with her team mate, Fanny Fischer.

Nicole Reinhardt says of her appearance in Playboy…'they're beautiful pictures'. Apparently the next spread she does, she wants her only accessory to be a gold medal...'not every girl or woman has a chance to appear in this magazine'.

I doubt she would have the same opportunity to promote paddlesports in such a unique way if she were to appear in Canoe Focus magazine!