A Walk in The Woods: Know, Go & Show the Way

I’m a nature guy. I love to spend time in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And one of my very favorite activities is training hike leaders so that they in turn can safely guide groups.

Often when I guide these “Train the Hike Leader” hikes, I’ll ask members in the group to share the thoughts they may experience along the route. Frequently, their comments are about the beauty of the surroundings like vistas, wildlife, streams, and ponds. Insects frequently pop into these musings. Sometimes, though, a hiker will do some deeper thinking.

On one particular occasion a woman succinctly captured the essence of our purpose. She said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” Bam! The applause was immediate and genuine. I thought to myself, “Now THERE is a leader who leads from the front.”

With all due credit to John C. Maxwell (Did he actually say this first? Who knows?) and to that amazing woman on the hike, here’s how I see it:

Know the way: This is education, experience, strategic thinking and vision.

Go the way: This is leading from the front; and sometimes from the side; and once in a while from the back – always with an eye on the ultimate outcome and with humility.

Show the way: Communicate your vision, provide the tools for success, be an adept problem solver, embrace change, and help others to do the same.

What do you think about Know, Go and Show? Do you do this? Does this trigger anything for your leadership-learning process? Contact me if you’d like to talk about leadership. I like to talk about leadership almost as much as I like hiking in the mountains.