By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to enhance your sense of interdependence. Reading time: 2:10.
You just got that big job, that promotion, that major account. And now you are feeling on top of the world. Invincible. You are the King or Queen of the corporate jungle. Hear ME roar!
Hear ME roar! Like an elephant: the largest living land animal on earth with no natural predator.
Hear ME roar! Like an elephant- a 10 to 12-ton weapon used in war during the Roman Empire.
Hear ME roar! Like an elephant wielding a trunk with more than 50,000 muscles that can suck up to 15 quarts of water at a time.
So huge. So strong. So unconquerable. And yet so vulnerable.
So vulnerable that an elephant’s skin is very sensitive to insects in key spots like behind the ears. So vulnerable that the elephant’s best friend in the jungle is the egret — a small bird that rides on the back of an elephant eating flies and other insects that “bug” the elephant’s sensitive ears.
The elephant and an egret are reputed to be Mother Nature’s Odd couple. They feed off each others’ vulnerabilities that counter-intuitively makes both stronger.
That Odd Couple –the egret and the elephant—serves as a metaphor for the symbiotic relationship between leaders and their followers.
After all, the most effective leaders I have known do not hide their vulnerability no matter how strong, how influential, how mighty others think they are. In fact the most effective leaders I have known are more than willing to acknowledge their own weakness to counter-intuitively become stronger in listening and learning from others.
“In meetings with staff, I try to be the first to say that I’m wrong about something or that I don’t have the answer,” said one leader in a large company. “I have to be vulnerable first. If I can become vulnerable the staff can become a little bit more vulnerable and then we can really begin to learn together.”
And listen. With elephant’s ears and an elephant’s memory.
Leverage your vulnerability to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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