Pulse June 2018 - Page 58

every successful leader shares common traits. I call them the Big 5 Leadership Traits and they are inspired by the most fascinating animals that I had the privilege of encountering in the wild. The Wisdom of the Pause The leaders of elephant herds can often be seen doing nothing, sometimes even looking frozen in space. To human eyes, it is unclear as to what is taking place, but if you pay attention, you can gain great leadership advice. In those regular moments of stillness, the lead elephant uses her senses to the fullest. She becomes aware of the position and movement of the group and its surroundings and gets in touch with each individual group member on an energetic level. She even gets in touch with herself and uses her senses in a highly concentrated way. The ability to pause and reflect on yourself and your team is a powerful leadership tool that many leaders don’t realize they are missing. With stress and distractions plaguing modern leaders, it’s hard to slow down, much less come to a complete pause. Unfortunately, because we have lost the ability to learn and practice this important skill, many leaders have lost the feeling for others and connection to their people. A great way to practice an elephant’s pause and observe technique is to refrain from any activity when you enter a meeting with your team or a client. Focus on the others in the room and pay attention to what your senses tell you. Feel the energy in the room. Is the energy tense? Are people talking and smiling or quiet and reserved? By taking the time to actually notice these things, you will realize a whole lot about the room and the people in it. Once you observe and learn more about your team or customer, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions that benefit all parties. The Art of Teamwork Lions, the so-called kings of the bush, are not only a universal symbol for power and strength, they are also masters in an area that every manager depends on: teamwork. Lions would be nothing without their pride, so they’ve become masters of teamwork on all levels. Territories are held by several male lions in so-called coali- tions. Working as a team makes it easier for them to fight against intruders, control larger territories, dispossess older lions or secure female territories—the basis for their survival. Female teamwork is best displayed during hunting and is clearly defined by the individual strengths of the team member. Anyone who has the chance to witness the breath- 56 PULSE ■ June 2018 taking, intelligent and highly efficient attacks of a female lion will never again forget it. For lions, teamwork secures long- term survival and success. When bringing this example into your workplace, ask yourself: how can the teamwork in my company be elevated? Does it leave enough room for creativity? Are there new allies on the outside I should build coalitions with in order to protect my territory? The Power of Targeting Another fascinating and impressive quality often observed in the bush is the outstanding ability of animals to focus on their prey. Be it a lion, leopard, cheetah or bateleur eagle, their Plehwe working as a ranger in south africa, where she learned to connect our world with the wild.