The success behind a group effort depends on each and every team member. However, no team can be successful without an experienced and efficient leader.

Good cooperation between team members and leaders is sometimes a matter of life and death. Literally. Especially when you plan on exploring the roof of the world and beating the relentless slopes of Mt. Everest.

Check out: Leading Teams When Lives Are at Stake




  • inevitable – unable to be avoided, evaded, or escaped; certain; necessary
  • reputable – held in good repute; honorable; respectable
  • inherent – existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute
  • resilient – recovering readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like
  • withhold – to hold back; restrain or check
  • defiant – boldly resistant or challenging
  • commonalities – a feature or characteristic held in common
  • compel – to force or drive, especially to a course of action
  • summit (v, n) – to reach a summit (v), the highest point or part, as of a hill, a line of travel, or any object (n)
  • misjudgement – to judge, estimate, or value wrongly or unjustly

Think about it

Based on the article answer the questions below. 

  • What two attitudes do people tend to display about climbing Mount Everest?
  • Why may people be disinclined to ask technical questions or be honest about their health?
  • Explain the idea of being inclusive and forgiving.
  • In what can you reinforce the team’s attitude of engagement and commitment.  
  • In what situations doesn’t the team leader’s decision have to conform to that of the majority?


Practice makes perfect

In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • And as a management professor [. . .] this inevitably has made me wonder how team dynamics will unfold on the mountain — as my life may depend on it.
  • Considering our different backgrounds, we agreed on what it takes to build and lead teams up Everest, and how those leadership lessons are relevant to the high-risk, high-uncertainty environments that business leaders find themselves in today.
  • You need team members to be honest and say what they think even if their point of view has no traction.
  • Other people belittle the difficulty — the dangers and the accomplishment — acting like it is not a big deal. 
  • It is impossible to lead when you are exceedingly attached to how things are supposed to happen.


Put the phrases in bold back where they belong.

health concern    –    adequate skills    –    unexpected events    –    point of view    –     high-stakes environments    –    self-protective reasons

In______, fear is your biggest enemy to success. There will always be ______and setbacks, and fear keeps hidden the information your team needs to be resilient. You need team members to be honest and speak up even if their ______ is unpopular. On Everest, there are many ______ for withholding information. Reporting a ______ might result in being seen as weak. Inquiring about a specific climbing technique could appear as lacking ______. Expressing uncertainty about the team leader’s plan could be seen as defiant, inappropriate, or not being a “team player.” So, how do you ensure team members speak up, share concerns, and question assumptions?


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