Factors that Shape Outdoor Leaders: An Exploration of Outdoor Leadership Development Methods and Themes
thesisposted on 01.05.2015, 00:00 by Gregory A. Ley
Through my years of experience educating people in the outdoors I have continued to grow and improve my skillset. The definition of effective outdoor leadership is complex and not completely settled, but the methods by which leaders become effective are even less clear in the literature. In this paper I outlined my complex personal path of experiences that led to my leadership abilities today. I reflected on challenging experiences, mentors that guided my way, and moments of sudden understanding; I analyzed those experiences to develop themes that I believe were (and are) essential to my own development as a leader. Themes discovered were (a) mentorship, (b) challenge, reflection, and opportunity, (c) training and skills development, (d) observational learning, and (e) community and socialization. I concluded by comparing this framework of themes to a leadership development program that I instructed – the Outdoor Leadership Development Series at the University of Wyoming. This paper is valuable as a framework for understanding the many and varied processes that transform novice leaders into excellent ones.