Agency leaders have a lot on their plates...
Okay, maybe not as much as elephants do. The largest of all land animals, elephants can teach people tons about leadership. No matter the size of your office or team, it's a wise idea to look to the wild for lessons in integrity and communication.
Find a Good Mentor
Elephants are born with fewer survival instincts than many other animals. Don’t feel bad! Because of this, they are forced to rely on their elders to teach them everything they need to know about being an elephant. Likewise, in business, it's smart to accept help from others – no matter what level of the organization you're in. Seek out mentors and the advice of people whose expertise you trust and experience you admire. It's always good to be proactive, gain a new perspective and continue to learn new skills.
Develop Thick Skin
While elephants are known for their tough-looking inch-thick skin, they are actually very sensitive. Though thick, elephant's can feel even a fly land on their skin!
What does this have to do with agency leadership?
Well, while it can be difficult to take criticism in the working world, it's important to learn from negative experiences and strive for growth in times of adversity. Be objective and take time to consider what can be done differently going forward. Every business faces difficult situations and leaders must have thick skin to weather the storm. At the same time, leaders must be able to show sensitivity and empathy towards their co-workers and provide constructive and sensitive feedback.
Health Is Key
Healthy adult elephants have no natural predators. Lucky ducks! Err…elephants! Forever being out of harm's way would make any species happy. Similarly, the health of a business can determine its longevity and the happiness of those who work there. What does a healthy business look like? It starts with proper business planning and building trust. Not only is it important for a company to be financially healthy, but agency leaders should promote wellness and create a culture that reduces stress and promotes growth amongst employees.
Know Your Strengths
Did you know elephants can either be “left-trunked” or “right-trunked”? Elephants can also use their trunks like snorkels for breathing, and can swim like that for up to 6 hours! It doesn’t
matter whether your left or right hand is dominant, or how long you can hold your breath, but it’s important to know where your strengths lie. Utilize the leadership skills you do have and look to others where you may fall short. It’s also key to know when to use these strengths. An elephant’s trunk is home to over forty thousand individual muscles, making it sensitive enough to pick up a single blade of grass, yet strong enough to rip the branches off a tree. While, at times, a business decision may require some uprooting, just because the strength is there doesn’t mean the strategy must be full-force each time.
Talk It Out
Elephants can teach leaders a thing or two about communication. These mammals “talk” to each other over long distances by producing and receiving a sub-sonic rumbling. These rumblings convey messages of emotional states, intentions and desires. Not only that, but elephants have excellent memories. Agency leaders should make sure communication is a key component in their business to keep team connections strong. Teams that communicate openly and often are more effective and productive.
Listening is also key in communicating. Take time to listen to your employees and consider their feedback and concerns as you move forward. Exceptional communication leads to better problem-solving for a business in the long-term.
Elephants are powerfully strong creatures – both mentally and physically. More than a sight to be seen during an African safari, elephants know how to play on their strengths and when to ask for help. Confident and compassionate, elephants serve as incredible examples for agency leaders who strive to succeed.