For a lot of us living in the big cities and suburban areas, most of our minutes and hours spent walking outside are by passing by the concrete jungle of stores, shops, restaurants and cars.
Well sometimes we take on the route for Botanical Gardens, Parks, Campouts - but all of these are limited in exploring nature. And then there’s Netflix, National Geographic and Discovery Channel. But still, not a lot are able to fully explore nature and it’s wonders - the Plants, Insects and Animals freely wandering about in their natural habitat.
Nature is definitely an incredible tool to learn and development leadership and management.
What is Biomimicry?
Biomimicry is the imitation and development of what naturally occurs in nature into human-centered products, experiences, and design. The tiny hairs of a Gecko’s feet that allow them to climb vertical surfaces have influenced the design for rock climbing equipment. Think of Velcro – the tiny hooks found on bur fruits are what inspired that particular innovation. The study of birds was instrumental to individuals first looking to create airplanes. By taking a deeper look at nature – how plants and animals adapt to circumstances, and the elements of the bodies that allow them to thrive – we can be inspired to design and organize our worlds to emulate what makes them successful.
Organizational Biomimicry - leadership and organization.
One of the best examples we can get with leadership and organization are Wolves. We call it’s team a Wolfpack. You might have heard of the term a dozen times and in the human world, it depicts oneness and teamwork no matter the odds are. It’s the power of togetherness that allows for success. The members of a wolfpack are typically generational – there are young and old alike in the same group. And, like many teams, wolves have a designated leader, motivating the group to keep going and setting the direction for the pack.
The leader is not at the front!
It would be a natural assumption to think that the leader of the wolfpack is at the front. After all, they are setting the direction and taking the lead. With most teams, the leader is at the front, taking charge and sharing the vision. Many leaders charge ahead without taking the time to check in and look back – what happens if the leader continues on, only to realize that no one is following him/her already?
It may surprise you to learn who is at the front – it’s typically the oldest within the wolfpack. These individuals may have been leaders at some point, though are now the elders. They’re oftentimes slower than the rest and, because of this, set the pace. As fast as they can move is as fast as the rest of the group goes. Wolves stay in packs for this reason, and respect the speed of the slowest moving individual to make sure they can stay together.
So where is the leader stationed? Surprisingly, they are at the back. This gives them a unique vantage point, being able to see the bigger picture of the direction the group is going in. It also gives them the opportunity to protect the rest of the pack; if another animal comes to attack from either direction, they can be prepared to run left or to run right to fight them off and protect their peers. It’s only from this position that they can truly serve out their leadership role.
Learning how to be a good leader can greatly impact the success of your team, your organization and yourself. To be an effective leader, you must understand your own motivations, strengths and weaknesses. Great leaders connect with their team by facilitating open communication, encouraging employee growth and development, and giving and receiving feedback.
Now with your team, where do you stand? At the front or at the back?
Author: Kellie Stewart is an entrepreneur, consultant and equinologist. Kellie has more than 20 years of professional consulting in the leadership domain