Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Art of Followership

Followership theory is an area that has seen minimal treatment in the academic literature and is an under-appreciated topic amongst leadership practitioners. Although it has received attention in the past (e.g. Chalef, 2003; Kelley, 1992), the study of followership is emerging once more as a critical notion for consideration with the advent of the information age and dramatic changes in organisational settings (Kellerman, 2008).

The idea that leadership is a relationship based on mutual exchange between leaders and followers is not new. Edwin Hollander (1958) suggested that leadership is a two-way influence and social exchange between leaders and followers. Building on these ideas, Robert Greenleaf (1977) went on to encapsulate the leader’s obligation to any followership with the idea that leaders should strive to be ‘servants’. In return, followers ideally provide leaders with a wide variety of positives including focus and self-direction, gratitude and loyalty, commitment and effort, as well as cooperation and sacrifice. 

Reflecting this reciprocal approach, Messick (2005) describes leadership as a mutually beneficial predicated exchange in which leaders ideally strive to provide their followers with an equally varied subset of paybacks, including vision and direction, protection and security, achievement and effectiveness, as well as inclusion and belongingness. In similar fashion, Hollander (2008) also promotes a process of active followership, emphasising follower needs and expectations, with the guiding principle of "doing things with people, not to people”. Of course, it is rare that all of these factors are either met or even required by both leaders and followers. Nevertheless, some particular subset of these ‘rewards’ would usually be apparent in any leader-follower relationship, with the exact combination varying according to some combination of both participant characteristics and the environmental/goal context

As long as there have been leaders, there have been followers, and leaders cannot accomplish what they do without followers (Kelley, 1992). Newell (2002) suggested that a growing trend in leadership is to inspire followership, and to this end, coaching and mentoring outdoor practitioners to transform participants into good followers should be considered an essential skill in today’s environment. Outdoor leaders must actively contribute to the forming of good leader-follower relationships (Vince, 2002) if they are to benefit from the leader-member exchange and promote the sharing of group goals personal beliefs and values consistent with the axioms that exist in the outdoors. Finally, Banutu-Gomez’s (2004) contention that leaders must teach their followers to be good followers requires the development of concepts consistent with leader-follower exchanges that place leadership in the hands of the followers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spring Rolling

Cheri Perry and Turner Wilson of Kayak Ways will be coming to Wales and offering 2 days of coaching on 7th and 8th May 2011. The classes will be on Llyn Padarn, Llanberis and are a fantastic opportunity for anyone wanting to learn to roll. Click on the above image to enlarge it for more information.

They use ‘skinny sticks’ (Greenland paddles), but you don’t have to use a Greenland paddle to benefit from the teaching. I’ve had a bit of coaching from Cheri & Turner and they are excellent teachers. This is what they do all the time and it shows. They are quick to spot what people are doing wrong and have lots of tips for correcting it. They are also lovely people with plenty of interesting stories about competing in the rolling competition in Greenland, making their own kayaks and paddles, and getting out on the water all over the world. 

Places are limited to 8 people per day, so contact Cheri and Turner if you have any questions, or to book your place e-mail them at: info @ kayakways.net

Acknowledgements: text and main image courtesy of Justine Curgenven

Friday, January 14, 2011

Incident Report

Falmouth Coastguard received several 999 calls after a red flare was spotted between Falmouth and the Helford River (MCA Press Release)

Falmouth Coastguard sent the volunteer Coastguards from Falmouth Coastguard Rescue team to search the shoreline and the RNLI All-weather Lifeboat and Inshore Boat from Falmouth to search the water. The Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter from RNAS Culdrose was also sent to join in the search. 

In heavy seas with poor visibility, and with the support of the Tanker Cape Daly which was anchored in Falmouth Bay, the inshore boat quickly located one kayaker who had capsized and was in the sea. He told the crew of the Inshore Lifeboat that a second kayaker was also missing. He was found minutes later by the helicopter out of his boat and in the water. He was winched by the helicopter and both kayakers were then flown to hospital in Truro with suspected hypothermia. 

The Falmouth All-weather Lifeboat was able to recover both kayaks and one of the paddles to avoid any confusion should they be spotted in the sea or washed ashore.

Falmouth Coastguard Watch Manager Peter Bullard said we understand they are experienced kayakers and were well equipped but they're still lucky that in such poor weather their distress flare was seen.

We always advise anyone venturing onto the sea in such challenging conditions to be realistic about their abilities and always advise their nearest Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre of their intentions.

Support the RNLI by becoming a member or making a donation.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

The Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium, which is running from the 18th to 20th February 2011, is a skills event that aims to deliver a fun and exciting weekend of sea kayaking in one of the most spectacular and dynamic locations in the world — the Marin Headlands and San Francisco Bay. This event is dedicated to the sheer joy of paddling well and paddling safe. Participants will find a little ACA and BCU in the program, but the goal is to address paddling for the pure fun of it. Some of the best coaches in the world will be in attendance.

Spring tides and powerful Pacific swells will ensure challenging conditions for even the most seasoned paddlers. The area has beautiful surf, rock gardens, tide races, flatwater, challenging navigation and more. Not to mention that all around you are Mt. Tam, the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Skyline, Berkeley, Alcatraz, Angel Island, the Bay Bridge and more…

Go to the news page for the latest updates for this year’s symposium

Friday, January 07, 2011

Incident Report

Sixteen kayakers have been rescued from strong tides off Portland Bill, Dorset, after getting into difficulties (MCA Press Release).

The group, from Upper Hamble Canoe Club in Hampshire, made two mayday calls about 1600 GMT, saying they were in trouble. 

A rescue helicopter and two lifeboats were sent from Weymouth. All 16 kayakers were rescued onto the boats. 

Two were then airlifted to hospital, one very seasick and the other with suspected hypothermia and shock. 

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the group - two leaders and 14 members - had been well-equipped, and had a mobile phone and radio with them. 

However, he was unsure if they were aware of the particular conditions in the Race, where tides on both sides of the promontory meet at the tip of Portland Bill and cause very turbulent water. 

The group had become separated into two groups, one group of which had been swept into the Race itself. 

"If people get stuck in there it can be very dangerous, especially for smaller vessels and kayakers," the spokesman said. 

He described the rescue as "fairly complicated" because of the encroaching darkness. Two rescue helicopters used their floodlights to illuminate the rescue.

Support the RNLI by becoming a member or making a donation.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Kayaking in the Florida Keys

There are many kayaking tours that are available for exploring the Florida Keys and whether you are a beginner or experienced, there is a tour for every skill level. There are a number of different venues to accommodate every taste so if paddling on the sea in a tropical paradise is the adventure you’ve been looking for, sea kayaking in the Florida Keys may just be what you’ve been searching for while vacationing in the state. Most of the tours are strategically located to enable a kayaking adventure in the Everglades and the Florida Keys so you are sure to find one that facilitates your adventurous needs.

There are also numerous kayaking tours that are eco-friendly, geared towards families, and nature kayaking tours. You’ll be able to enjoy cruising shorelines that are protected and out of the wind that you would normally have to deal with when cruising the open beach areas. You can enjoy the crystal clear waters while observing some of the Florida wildlife in the process. Most of the tours proceed at a leisurely pace so that you can easily enjoy the scenery and take all the photos that you want. Most of the tours are also limited to the number in the party so that the experience is more enjoyable.

The waters of the Florida Keys have remained virtually unchanged for decades thanks to the efforts of local and national organisations such as national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other state parks. There are a number of mangrove islands set in clear waters that enable you to observe the indigenous marine life and wildlife in their natural habitat. The backcountry waters and oceanside flats add to the experience whenever you are observing the wildlife in this unique environment. Just be aware that there are a number of endangered species that live here.

The wildlife in the Florida Keys is nothing short of diverse. It is exotic, mysterious, and tropical. It is a stopping point for birds journeying further south to their final destination in South America as well as the home to a variety of sea creatures that you will never find in the colder waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a deer refuge as well as West Indies marine life such as the West Indian manatee and the West Indies spiny lobster. Birds such as the osprey and roseate spoonbill are common here as well. One way or the other, there is more marine life and wildlife here than what you have ever imagined.

Getting There

If you’ve recently been considering travelling to Florida on holiday or for an extended vacation, you should consider visiting the city of Orlando and touring the Florida Keys. There are a number of cheap flights to Orlando currently available as well as package deals that include your flight and lodging once you arrive there. Aside from Walt Disney World and other notable theme parks in Orlando, many people venture down to the Florida Keys to enjoy a memorable kayaking adventure, very popular water sport that many locals and tourists participate in.