Don’t Step on the Rope!: Reflections on Leadership, Relationships and Teamwork by Walter C. Wright was a book David had on his bookcase, so I looked briefly at his copy and decided to buy one for myself. Wright uses his experience of thirty yeasrs of mountaineering with friends, to reflect on what it means to be part of a team and to lead a team. Throughout the book he shares tales of expeditions to highlight the ways to do team and not to do team.
Much of the book reinforces classic leadership instruction, but it was in the last few chapters (on memory, humour, embracing the whole person and their family) that it really showed something different to me. It is well written and worthy of a read, however, if like myself you’ve read a bit around the subject of leadership, the first 6 chapters won’t teach you anything new, but will remind you of things you need to focus on with your teams. It’s good, but it doesn’t set you on fire would be how I’d sum it up.
Here are a couple of quotes from it:
The chosen leader – the one we agree to follow – does not direct our activities or make our decisions. Rather he is responsible to see that decisions are made and delegations accepted. (p. 9)
With a team of capable, confident, and independent leaders, someone needs to keep focussed on what we are doing together. (p. 52)
No one talks about forgiveness! This may well be the crisis of leadership today. I am becoming increasingly convinced that there can be no healthy relationship without forgiveness. Leadership requires forgiveness. Tems depend on forgiveness. And forgiveness nurtures leadership. (p. 67)