When we have the label of “leader” we often assume that means that we need to get out in front and show people the way. And that is occasionally part of the job. But my favorite leaders to work with allow for leadership among team members based on their strengths and not their titles. They “manage” the team, but allow for different leaders to emerge. And they are always focused on helping their team inspire and amaze THEMSELVES–understanding that confidence and inspiration are an inside job. In the 1997 Eco-Challenge, the Japanese team did something that defied all logic, reason, and the bounds of human endurance. They carried their injured female teammate for 18 hours, piggy back style inside a backpack, up and over an incredibly steep, rocky, muddy, dense-jungle-covered 9000 ft. mountain in their quest to get to the finish line. When they emerged from the sugar cane fields at the base of the mountain, battered but victorious, they did something incredible graceful… They picked up their injured teammate and put her on their shoulders. They gave HER the moment to shine, and symbolically gave her the credit for allowing them to succeed against the toughest of odds. It’s my favorite Adventure Racing moment of all time because their performance says it all: we don’t achieve our greatest heights as leaders by stepping on our teammates’ backs to rise higher–we stand much taller as leaders when we put our teammates on our shoulders. And we don’t inspire our teammates by leading the pack and showing them how wonderful WE are. We inspire them by putting them on our shoulders and shower them how amazing, smart, and capable THEY are.
Join us on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 5:00 a.m. for a hike up Mt. San Jacinto with World Renowned Adventure Racer Robyn Benincasa.
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