What is the first thing that you have in mind or you think of when you see a Lion or hear about one? Is it violence? Fearlessness? Appearance? Or is it its ferocity? Whatever it is you might know or have heard about the Lion, you will still have to agree that it is a very special animal, in fact, that makes it to be called the “King of the jungle” (even though it is from the family of cats). The Lion as an animal is one that every leader and aspiring leader should strive to imbibe its characteristic.
We shall be examining five lessons that a leader can glean from the life of the lion
FACT: A Lion’s roar can be heard from five miles away:
Axiom 1: Make yourself to be heard
Bear this in mind, people will judge you by your actions not your purposes. You may have a heart of gold but so does a hard-boiled egg – Maya Angelou.
You may have well-meaning plans as a main priority, yet in the event that you don’t list them out, no one will know how honorable they are. There are a lot of creatures that are greater and more grounded and have more stamina than the Lion, there are creatures that are quicker, there are creatures that are shockingly better seekers, however what makes the Lion ostensibly the most fearsome creature to walk the earth is its voice – its voice is source of its notoriety.
Many of us never met with Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison but we all have something to say about them because they had something to say and they said it. Many of us never met with people like Hitler Adolf or Mother Theresa of Calcutta, but we have knowledge of them because they had statements to make and they made them. The Lion knows that its roar travels very far, that accounts for its fearlessness. If you develop your reputation rightly, your fearlessness will increase as well.
Jesus Christ himself said in Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you”. There is nothing to be gained from keeping to yourself, express yourself! If you know you are not extroverted you can write, if you have discovered a talent, skill(s) or gift, use it. Go out and make friends, a person kept away is of no use to anyone.
FACT: African lions are the most social of all big cats and live together in groups called “prides.”
Axiom 2: Relate With Others So That You Can Get Better
Robert Greene’s eighteenth law of power says: “Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous”. Many people believe that life is a private journey and for a leader to make progress, he sometimes needs to act alone. While these statements are true to some degree, we should acknowledge that there is a reason why we have friends, bosses, mentors, coaches and even family members. They are not just there because same blood passes through our veins or they have something to profit from us, they are there to take pleasure with us in happy moments, to share sorrows with, to give knowledge to us and to help us in our journeys on the highway of life.
One interesting thing about a pride of Lion is that other females are always ready to help a female babysit cubs when she goes hunting. We should also note that the reason why the sea is so large is that it has many small rivers, streams, and rivulets feeding it. The Leader should consider himself as a river serving food to others and being fed by others in turn. A stagnant river is one that fails to flow into others, nothing can survive in it and it will sooner or later start to develop a bad smell or dry up. Remember the popular acronym TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More).
FACT: Lions rarely eat entire prey, they usually leave leftovers for other animals
Axiom 3: The ability to share is the hallmark of a leader
When a man is covered up in himself, he makes a good-looking small parcel. Kindness is one of the given properties that defines a man as a true leader. Every leader is surrounded by people and the right thing to do is to ensure that the people gain access to a fair share of what accrues to his team. Being a leader does not just confer on you the power to issue commands or give direction, it also involves the ability to motivate.
There is nothing that can motivate like reward and incentive, a true leader does not hold these things back. Learn from the Yoruba old saying which says “The old man that eats without consideration for the people around him, will carry his load home all by himself.” If you need to be respected, you must learn to give freely of yourself to others.
It is hard to imagine that the Lion, in spite of its voracious appetite, and the amount of food needed to satisfy its massive body needs, still cares for others enough to let go of left-overs for other carnivores. There is no level of need that should stop you from giving to others. Jack London gives us an opinion: “A bone to the dog is not Charity. Charity is a bone shared with the dog when you are just as in need of food as the dog.”
FACT: A Lion can spend up to 20 Hours a Day Sleeping:
Axiom 4: The Difference between a Leader and a Slave, Find Time to Relax
The dangerous desire that causes one to work and work until one suddenly breaks down due to fatigue and stress has never been greater than it is in our current society. Everyday our schedules are packed full with meetings, dates, activities which make us engrossed. We are giving in to strong desire to work and work as slaves, we give ourselves freely to our activities and to people around us, yet we become feeble to get money for that we need time for ourselves, we are constantly burnt out and tired out yet we do not see the need to stop. And so we slave our lives away like worker bees and do not have special rights the short time we have to full of force.
Learn from the Lion who knows that every day it must take in food, yet still sleeps for more than half the day. Although the lion has a deep responsibility for provision it never goes in need of food. The biting humor of work is that it never ends, the more you do, the more you still have to do. French writer Moliere says: “Our minds need relaxation, and give way, unless we mix with work, a little play”. In the insect country led by a king workers are the ones that have nothing else to do but work, one of the marks of a leader is that he does not soils his hands with work meant for his supporters. If you need to get pleasure out of living, learn to not let operation rule your living. Find time to relax.
FACT: Male Lions defend the pride’s territory while females go to hunt. Despite this the male gets to eat first
Axiom 5: Learn how to delegate responsibility
This essayist belongs to the school of thought of those who believe that there is a reason why human beings have only two hands and two legs. Except if you have a capacity to split yourself like that characters in the X-men movie, you need to acknowledge that you can’t do everything or be in more than one place at a time. Even if you are “Man of Steel”, there are insufficient hours in the day to do everything that ought to be done.
In this way you need to figure out how to give a few errands for others to do. Some people are staunch believers in the maxim “if you want anything to be done right, you have to do it yourself.” Unfortunately taking this saying too truly is certain approach to burnout, fatigue, hypertension and mental meltdown.
One fascinating reality about the lion is that, in spite of the fact that the female makes the kill, she brings it for the male to eat first. The lesson to learn here is division of labour. It does not mean you are giving them space to undermine your power, it implies you perceive that individual’s capacity and aptitudes and you recognize them as valuable and essential to the organization. If the project is successful it is still the leader that gets most of the credit, so a true leader should not be paranoid about distributing tasks to team members.
One thing we should note about the Lion is that it does not roll over and go to sleep when its mate goes to hunt, it has its own assignment to carry out. Try not to give all your work out and after that laze about throughout the day – that is not delegation of duty but laziness and such an action leads to lack of respect from your followers.