White Water Canoe and Kayak Leadership
I’ve taken part in numerous canoe and kayak training and assessment courses – skills courses, coaching courses, BCU courses, update courses – and all stress the importance of good leadership in outdoor adventurous activities. Leadership is the topic of articles and chapters in books – it almost seems that as long as we have a good leader in our group when we go out canoeing or kayaking then everything will be fine.
But leadership is only one end of a continuum. At the other lies “followership”. A good leader can do so much – and for the group to work really well together everyone else needs to demonstrate good followership behaviours.
So what is good followership? Here is a list of some followership behaviours that are useful-
- Follow instructions, particularly safety instructions
- Observe and monitor other group members
- Pass on signals and information efficiently
- Contribute to plans, and follow the plan once it is agreed
- To be open and honest about aims, objectives, limitations, experience and ability
- Contribute to developing two way communication
- Contribute actively to the pursuit of group objectives
- Contribute to the creation of a positive environment that supports other members of the group
One interesting point is that as I observe successful groups, the group members often move backwards and forwards along the Leadership – Followership continuum. Everyone has a role to play if the group is to be successful, and everyone has some responsibility.