Leadership and building confidence

Ben Lui

©Paul Kennedy

Last week was mostly very enjoyable, spent on a led walking holiday in the Scottish Highlands. The leader was experienced, and had climbed all of the Munros.

The problem came on Tuesday, on Ben Lui (pictured). In misty conditions, he led us along a path that became steeper, and petered out. We ended up on a very steep, wet and grassy slope, where one of the party slid some 30 feet. Luckily she avoided injury. Since there was no way to the top of the mountain, we had to abort the attempt, and turn back.

The result was a loss of confidence in the leader (not helped by one or two more instances of trouble finding the right path, either due to lack of preparation or lack of briefing). Potentially, this could have undermined the group as a whole. (I for one was careful not to spread a lack of confidence).

What lessons can be learned?

  1. Know where you are going, and how to get there.
  2. Do your research properly.
  3. Remember always that people’s confidence in you can be lost in seconds, but takes a long time to build.