Leadership and Adventure Education Notes

- Authors and sources are cited below each writing. If no author is cited, then the author is that of this website, and should be cited as such in case of reproduction.

Leadership Notes

"Good leaders don't depend on their position to give them authority; they depend on earning trust. They don't mandate good performance from those they lead; they inspire it."
- John Graham, Outdoor Leadership, Technique, Common Sense, and Self Confidence, 1997

10 leadership strategies from Sir Ernest Shackleton's extraordinary leadership skills:
_____1. Never loose sight of the ultimate goal, and focus energy on short-term objectives.
_____2. Set a personal example with visible, memorable symbols and behaviors.
_____3. Instill optimism and self-confidence, but stay grounded in reailty.
_____4. Take care of yourself; maintain your stamina and let go of guilt.
_____5. Reinforce the team message constantly: "We are one- we live or die together".
_____6. Minimize status differences and insist on courtesy and mutual respect.
_____7. Master conflict, deal with anger in small dosages, engage dissidents, and avoid _____needless power struggles.
_____8. Find something to celebrate and something to laugh about.
_____9. Be willing to take the big risk.
_____10. Never give up, there's always another move.
- Dennis Perkins, Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary saga of Skackleton's Antarctic Expedition, 2000

Follower Communication Styles. Robert Kelley found that followers differ on two dimensions - independent/critical thinking and active engagement. The most effective followers are people who think for themselves and take initiative. Less effective followers have to be told what to do and require constant supervision. Typical followers take direction and complete jobs on their own after being told what is expected of them. Robert Kelley developed a self-assessment exercise that seperated people into one of five categories:
_____Alienated followers are highly independent thinkers who put most of their energies into fighting rather than serving their orgainzations because they feel disillusioned with leaders or feel unappreciated.
_____Comformists are commited to organizational goals but express few thoughts of their own. These followers may hold back their ideas out of fear or deference to authority.
_____Pragmatists are moderatley independent and engaged. Pragmatism is a way of coping with organizational uncertainty caused by frequent changes of leadership, layoffs and restructuring. These organizational survivors hold on to their jobs but are not likely to be promoted.
_____Passive followers demonstrate little original thought or commitment. They rely heavily on the leader's direction and only meet minimal expectations. Their passivity may stem from a lack of skills or or be a response to serving under authoritarian leaders.
_____Exemplary followers rate highly as both critical thinkers and active participants, contributing innovative ideas and going beyond what is required. While these are the best type of followers, they can be highly valued by leaders, or perceived as a threat to leaders/managers with poor traits.
- adapted from: Hackman and Johnson, Leadership, a Communication Perspective, 2000

"Good leaders often inspire others to perform at extraordinary levels. They don't do this by learning how to give great pep talks: rather their capacity to inspire flows from a gut belief in the positive potential of people."
- John Graham, Outdoor Leadership, Technique, Common Sense, and Self Confidence, 1997

When directive and task-oriented leadership is required, this acronym tool, LADER (like leader without the initial "E"), can be useful:
_____L: Look
_____A: Assess
_____D: Delegate
_____E: Engage (engage yourself in the task along with the others)
_____R: Reset (start again from the top of the list after a few minutes, or hours, depending)

Kurt Hahn said "There are three ways of trying to win the young. There is persuasion; there is compulsion; and there is attraction. You can preach at them; that is a hook without a worm. You can say "You must volunteer"; that is of the devil. Or you can tell them "You are needed!" That appeal hardly ever fails.
- from: Outward Bound USA, leadership the Outward Bound Way, 2007

Seven consistent qualities of great leaders: "I, E, followed by five C's":


Adventure education, transformational leadership, transformational education notes

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you may help them to become what they are capable of being."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In the 1930's Kurt Hahn observed these five modern "tempting declines" afflicting youth as they progressed into the adult world:
_____1. Decline of fitness, due to modern methods of moving about;
_____2. Decline of initiative and enterprise, due to the widespread disease of spectatoritis;
_____3. Decline of memory and imagination, due to the confused restlesness of modern life;
_____4. Decline of skill and care, due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship;
_____5. Decline of self-discipline, due to stimulants and tranquilizers
And worst of all:
_____6. Decline of compassion, due to the unseemly haste of with which modern life is conducted.
- from: Kenneth Kalisch, The Role of the Instructor in the Outward Bound Educational Process, 1979

"Communicating a vision to followers may well be the most important act of the transformational leader. A vision is a concise statement or description of the direction in which an individual , group or organization is headed. Compelling visions provide people with a sense of purpose and encourage committment."
- Hackman and Johnson, Leadership, a Communication Perspective, 2000

Kurt Hahn once said "I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and above all compassion."
- from: Kenneth Kalisch, The Role of the Instructor in the Outward Bound Educational Process, 1979

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs:
Maslow believes that people must satisfy their most basic needs first, physiological needs, before being concerned with the next set of needs. What this pyramid illustrates is that a person will desire to satisfy their needs, from the bottom-up, before being concerned with the category of needs above the one not satisfied. This illustration is useful to leaders for it shows us why we might not be able to affect our followers in a particular category, because their previous category of needs is not satisfied. It also allows leaders to understand how we can affect people to satisfy their self-actualization needs, by first helping them to satisfy all of their other needs, step by step, from bottom to top. It is thought that a person who is self-actualized will feel a sense of fulfillment and purpose. Also, those who achieve self-actualization have a strong urge to help others satisfy their self-actualization needs. Those who are not, might be unable to do so.

- adapted from: Hackman and Johnson, Leadership, a Communication Perspective, 2000

"The transactional leader is most concerned with the satisfaction of physiolgical, safety, and belonging needs. To meet these needs, a transactional leader exchanges rewards or privileges for desirable outcomes. Transformational leaders also attempt to satisfy the basic needs of followers, but they go beyond mere exchange by engaging the total person in an attempt to satisfy the higher-level needs of self-esteem and self-actualization. Transformational leadership is empowering and inspirational; it elavates leaders and followers to higher levels of motivation and morality."
- Hackman and Johnson, Leadership, a Communication Perspective, 2000

"The aim of education is to impel people into value-forming experiences."
- Kurt Hahn


Select publications on adventure education and outdoor leadership:
(these are attached articles, just click on them)

"Risk Management" - article by Jeff Liddle from the Journal of Experiential Education


"Outdoor Leaders' Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership" - article by Aya Hayashi and Alan Ewert from the Journal of experiential Education


"Student Learning in Adventure Education" - article by NOLS from the Journal of Experiential Education


"Real Leadership" - article by Bob Rheault from the Outward Bound International Journal


"Character Development" - article by John Hassell from the Outward Bound International Journal


On kayaking and expeditioning

"Misconceptions" - article by Doug Ammons