My time at Raleigh has taught me that great teams aren’t made by one or two star individuals: Instead they are grown out of shared experiences.
In these experiences, collaboration is key. As a strategy, collaboration is more effective than going it alone. Apart, hydrogen and oxygen are gaseous, but when they are combined they form water, the vital fuel for life. Similarly, by combining all the individual skills in a team you end up with a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
A fellow Venturer, Beth, has this to say about teamwork on trek:
“Loyalty to others is an important trait in a group. For example, when another Venturer became ill on our trek it was our responsibility to support her and put her first. Also, when trekking it is necessary to walk together and not leave anybody behind. Being a leader also involves being able to recognise the strengths of your team members. On trek I was in charge of setting down tents, however I wasn’t the most experienced in this area. Here, it was better for me as leader to delegate this responsibility and ask for help from a more knowledgeable team member”.
As Beth said, being a collaborative leader means being able to step up and step down in the process of guiding a group through a trek. Knowing when to take charge and when to delegate responsibility as a leader dictates how successful your team will be.
Not only do collaborative teams know more, but they also learn faster. Group members have the chance to learn from their mistakes, and the mistakes of their peers.
There are, however, some challenges that the collaborative leader faces alone. Situational awareness, knowledge about your team and communication skills are all demanded of the individual in this vital role. Situational awareness could mean knowing your camps’ jerry can needs refilling and purifying, or knowing how many kilometres the group has left to walk on trek.
Knowledge about your team means being aware of your teammates strengths and weaknesses, so that their skills can be utilised effectively (for example, physically stronger teammates could carry more group kit or early risers might like getting up early to light the fire).
Finally, effective communication skills means that the process of delegating responsibility runs smoothly. On day five of the trek our Tanzanian Day Leader, Daniel, talked to us about cultural differences between Tanzanians and those from other countries. This made his leadership style easier to understand, and as a result we made faster progress.
In conclusion, collaborative leadership is truly the secret to success. Team goals are achieved with greater speed and accuracy, and groups as a whole are more knowledgeable. A collaborative leader faces their own unique set of challenges, but with effective delegation any obstacle can be overcome.
By Louis – Golf One
By Steve Freeman