Leadership in business: Lessons from nature

Leadership in business: Lessons from nature

Have you looked at a thick forest? Only matured trees can support diverse life forms in a forest ecosystem. Similarly, only a matured leader can lead a team of diverse competency in an organisation. The definition of what has matured and what is diverse needs to be understood first. From nature’s point of view, a matured tree is referred to as a tree with great canopy cover. The canopy cover means the crown area of a tree. A larger crown cover is possible only for the trees that have grown well, have withstood and surpassed several summer, autumn, winter and spring; have passed through several process of pain and pleasure, have several stores to share etc.

When many such matured trees are in a forest together, they form an excellent cover, provide shelter to many smaller plants, trees, arboreal animals, birds etc to live and thrive underneath. These giant trees essentially need the smaller plants and trees to prevent soil erosion and percolation of the rain water into the deep soil.

The arboreal animals help in pollination and regeneration. The canopy inter-connectivity among several large trees gives an extraordinary support to the individual trees to withstand the wind and other adverse climatic effect. Perhaps, the trees would have learnt much earlier than man the advantage of being together.

Another important aspect of matured trees in the forest ecosystem is that many animals’ birds and insects build their nest in the trees and create holes and pits in some branch. The tolerance and continued support offered by these trees to the animals that harm them can also be seen in the forest ecosystem.

Corporate leaders should have the canopy connectivity with leaders of other corporate for the purpose of mutual care and welfare, and for healthy competition rather than killing each other in business; this is the message trees have to share with us.

A matured corporate leader should serve as a resort to the growth and welfare of talents and expertise, only then the corporate would grow. The corporate leader should grow like a tree with a great crown cover.

Nature has so much to offer to our living, thinking and being. Let us keep our eyes open, listen and learn from nature.

Let us see the pride of the lions first. Usually, a dominant male is the leader of this group. None can challenge the strength of the alpha male. The physical strength and aggression of the alpha male are the determining factors for his dominance. The protection and security enjoyed by other members of the pride at the behest of the alpha lion is what keeps the pride together. But the leadership of the alpha male is always under threat. During the breeding season, the dominant male lions from other prides challenge the leadership domain and some time may win also. Once it wins, the new one takes over the control of the entire pride.

To establish its authority, the new ‘chief’ annihilates all the cubs in the pride in order to push the females into a heat cycle so that he can mate. Leadership of the dominant lion in a pride is not stable and inspirational. Mere physical strength is what defines the dominance. Corollary to this, some leaders in a corporate behave exactly the same way as the new lion chief of the pride. They terminate the services of the most existing employees, declaring them to be useless and archaic. When one corporate is taken over by other, this situation becomes most inevitable.The inspiration, guidance and protection should be the ingredients of corporate leadership development.

Soothe sayings

Swami Sukhabodhananda

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