Lessons from Nature – Nurture!!

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A couple of years back, I obtained the cutest little siamese kitten that I named Smoky. Smoky came to me from finding him under the floor of the house. We had no idea for one how the kitten got under the floor and had no recollection of seeing any other cats around – such as his mother. As I began to care for the kitten, who barely had his eyes open, the dog, who never had puppies before, began to care for the little one like it belonged to her. That made me think, as leaders, how do we nurture ourselves and those that pass through our lives? Is it forced, or is it a natural occurance? Here are three challenges that I see leaders have in nurturing self and others.

Reflection: I see countless leaders who keep on giving but never stop to take a moment to reflect on their lives and the work performed. Leaders need to be aware of who is around them and also aware of who they are themselves.

Time Management: Have we thought about the little word of capacity? Yes, human capacity!! I had breakfast this morning with a new recruiter friend of mine who is transitioning back into the workplace as manager and training manager of a department. Our discussion was centered around organizational leaders are now beginning to assess culture fit and the need for work place balance for happy employees. Simply put: what about the time spent for “recharging” ones own “batteries”? How is that now calculated in the workplace since the past 6-7 years many employees have had to step up to the challenge of taking on a double workload during our Great Recession?

Strengths: Leaders are most often managers who have the courage to move beyond the status quo and make change happen. In the process one’s own strengths may not be clearly defined for them as individuals. Leading is a process, and so is learning! The challenge is wiling to delegate those managerial tasks that hinder ones own leading ability. This will be different for everyone…as it will be identified as tasks of – really am I still having to do this?

As leaders, we are called to nurture ourselves to have the capacity to lead and then to grow those around us. As the dog began grooming the kitten, ensuring it was protected during storms, and providing play time, I wonder often when we as humans take the lead, is there something that we may learn from nature? Do we stop and reflect often of what we may do for those around us? How is our time spent with those around us? Is everyone working at optimal levels to accomplish what is needed?

What else has nature taught us about leadership?

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