A Trek leader should have something more than the basic leadership qualities. They have to be extra careful when it comes to his fellow trekkers’ health. He/she should be quick in decision making, and should exercise his/her power, come what may! Here are 5 qualities a trek leader must possess.
1.Knowledge is the key: A great trek leader needs to know what they are talking about: from facts, figures, to the weather forecast for the coming days. Having said that, a great trek leader could be very knowledgeable, but he/she is not a walking encyclopedia. If you are asked about something you do not know - Do Not Make Things Up and Lie! Someone on the group will pick up the lie. Once they discover that you lied, you will lose all credibility, and it does not matter that you did your job fantastically for 20 days on a 21-day trek, they will think you must have lied to them throughout the trip.
2. Good communication skills: You might have a great amount of knowledge, but you should also have soft skills and good communication skills, storytelling abilities, politeness and leadership whenever required. Most people want to share their passions and favorite things with new friends. Make sure you are paying equal attention to all group members and engage everyone in participating.
3. Tolerance: The tolerance level of an outdoor leader should be extremely high. You cannot come across as rude or an insulting person. Sometimes the fellow trekkers may sound annoying, but situations like these teach you the patience to deal with all kinds of people.
4. Organization- As an outdoor leader, you need to know where all of your gear is located all of the time. It takes time to create systems and dial those systems into your mind. Know and understand where you need to keep accessible items, such as your rain gear, water, food, etc. Make sure your pack is balanced and compressed. Waterproof your items, which should not get wet and try to keep everything on the inside of your pack. You should always be equipped with a medical kit consisting of all the necessary first-aid items.
5. Self-Care- In order to manage others in adverse conditions, you need to manage yourself efficiently and effectively. Pack light, but do not compromise your health. Plan accordingly and always think, what if? If you are guiding, bring extra gear for your trekkers. If you are instructing, it may be advantageous to be a role model for your students. Drink copious amounts of water and eat gracious amounts of food. Put on layers when you’re cold and take off layers when you’re hot. Get to know what your body feels like when it is pushed to limits and treat yourself well.
At the end of the day, you are also a human being if you make a mistake or two, people will still respect you, but do not be paranoid and make a big deal out of it. Every process is filled with baby steps, and people and professionals learn from their own mistakes. All the best for all the adventures in the world!