The guiding hand: Namche Bazaar

October 17, 2013

Early morning leadership

This morning our group’s day has begun in the cold and darkness in the Nepal Himalaya. This is Day 5 of their journey to ascend Mera Peak. They prepare early and navigate their way in small teams to a pre-determined location high above Namche Bazaar (3440m). It is 3.00 am.

The exercise is crucial for acclimatisation, but it is also valuable for building their personal leadership and and the performance of the team. Their objective is to problem solve and collaborate in order to find their destination. The decisions they make and how they work with each other builds valuable insights into their make-up. It teaches them lessons about two key attributes of good leaders – judgement and influence – that can’t be easily taught at sea level.

Our team performs well. They have learned a lot.

Resilience tested

In this high altitude mountain village, the air is getting thinner. We all need to get our bodies more accustomed to exertion above 3500m. So we climb higher, and then come back down again. Some of our crew struggle for breath. This tests their resilience – their capacity to stay fully aware of how they are responding to the challenge and to remain composed. Questions are being asked, about their capacity to rebound.  Our mountain guides, like Tika, give them some one-on-one encouragement, and they encourage one another.

Guiding hand

Morning is advancing as we complete our descent back to Namche. There we feel ‘guided’ too as we wait to receive a simple blessing blessing from the lama. The temple is dark and tranquil. The ceremony is conducted in silence. For the Nepalese, it’s an important ritual before they climb; for each of us it is moment to reflect on what the journey ahead means.