Friday, 24 August 2018

The Lion King

Alexander the Great is quoted as having said:

“…I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion…”

My first impression of this comment was that the lion would be fearless in its’ leadership style.  But on closer examination there are a number of qualities of the lion that translate into effective leadership.  And while I doubt that Alexander necessarily had them in mind, these are equally important to the lion’s effectiveness.

1.    Despite its individual strength, lions work best in the collective strength of the pride.  This allows them greater success in hunting and in protecting against threats.

2.    Lions are very effective communicators.  Their roar can communicate up to 5 miles and yet they can hunt successfully without any sound because of their ability to read each other almost telepathically.

3.    Lions are vicious competitors but are highly social and caring within the pride.

4.    A lion’s vision is 6 times better than a human’s.  As a night hunter this provides an obvious and important advantage that they use to their benefit.

5.    Lions carry themselves with distinction that has afforded them the name of “King of the Jungle”.  There is a dignity and a presence that is both palatable and real.

Take a moment to reflect on your personal leadership style. 

Are you able to use the strength of your team to accomplish goals?  Does your style maximize potential?  Or are you the ‘do as I say’ type that dictates both the goal and the procedure to attain same?

Have you developed and polished your communication style so that others fully understand and buy into the team/corporate strategies? How do you test your style to ensure that what you want others to hear is actually being heard and understood and implemented?  Failure to communicate properly leads to frustration and lost opportunity.

Do you give a damn about your staff or are they lucky to have a job?  Increasingly employees are attracted to and retained by those companies who put employee well-being as a priority.  If your true attitude does not reflect this as a core value, you attract less than the best.  Today’s ultra-competitive workplace will soon separate you from those employers who have established this rapport with their most important asset.

Night vision is a benefit to the lion. Indeed, it is crucial to its survival. Your strategic vision is its counterpart. If you don’t know where you are headed, and why, you only hasten your demise.  If this is not a core strength, get help…professional help…before it is too late.

It has been said that one should dance like no one is watching.  But as the leader you must conduct yourself morally, ethically and legally as if the whole world could see you simultaneously.  Lead with integrity and honour befitting of the privileged role that you occupy.  That alone inspires others to service.

Alexander may have seen the warrior in the lion.  Today that is not nearly enough.  Expand your understanding and expand your performance!