Advice and thoughtful leadership from our experts.

Going the Distance with your Leadership Skills


While on vacation last week, we hiked every morning. Waking up early to smell the crisp air gave myself and my husband/ business partner, Drew, time to reflect and discuss things we often talk about. While on our face-paced hike, we both came to the realization that there are a lot of business leadership lessons to be learned from a hike. Blame it on the altitude or due to only having one coffee before we started, but the more we went through with the actual activity of hiking and the wandering mind started turning, we correlated these key factors that make leadership in the professional world also indicators of a successful hike.

Julie and Drew Brown on a hike while discussing leadership skills
Julie and Drew Brown on a hike while discussing leadership skills.
  1. Come prepared-both physically and with the right tools. Even the best hiker wouldn’t make it to the top of the mountain without the right shoes, water and other necessities. Do we start every work day well prepared for success?


  1. Take care of one another. Hikers will never let a fellow hiker be left stranded and will offer water, encouragement or a bandaid if needed. In what ways can we better encourage and support others as we work together for common goals?


  1. Make the path better for those behind you. You’ve heard of “pack-out (the items/trash you) pack-in?” We also are willing to move a barrier, a loose rock, or a slippery leaf to help those behind us. Every day let’s consider ways that we can improve processes and resolve future problems for others in our organization.


  1. Watch your step today but also look around and ahead! There is a great deal to learn by being observant. How could we possibly set a vision for our team without understanding the marketplace, trends, and the desires of our clients? If we don’t set a vision, who will?


  1. Let others pass through when they are ready to set the pace or take turns based on the strengths of those in the group. My husband has an uncanny sense of direction while I tend to like to set the pace (but could get lost in a square box!). In what ways can we lead at work by learning from and using the strengths of others? How do we prepare and allow for those who have a desire to lead?


  1. What works today might not work tomorrow. Circumstances change whether in nature or in business. Success builds confidence but can cause us to ignore our vulnerabilities or make mistakes. Our ability to adjust and pivot is the difference in long term success.


This can’t be such a coincidence, can it? Leading a successful team can be challenging and ever-changing, but coming everyday with the right tools, attitude, and team can move mountains. So don’t give up: take a deep breath, go on a hike, think or talk it out, and then adjust accordingly.




Julie Godshall Brown

President, Godshall Recruiting