Leadership Tips from a Tree

Leadership Tips from a Tree

Stand tall and proud

Go out on a limb

Remember your roots

Drink plenty of water

Be content with your natural beauty

Enjoy the view

As a coach, I’m on the look-out for simple reminders that help leaders stop and reflect easily and routinely. I especially like “Advice from a Tree” by Ilan Shamir, because it’s tied to the outdoors and provides a great visual. This excerpt from his poem is one of many he’s written based on the wisdom and beauty he sees and hears in nature.

First and foremost, we need to stand fully in who we are and what we know. If you don’t hold yourself with dignity, respect and pride, it makes it tougher for others to want to follow you. I’m not saying we should throw humility out the window – it’s a balance and many of us spend too much time on the “aw shucks” end of this continuum. Be proud of who you are and claim your full voice. It’s attractive and inspiring.      

Going out on a limb reminds us to stop playing it safe. Leadership is not for the faint of heart. It often requires us to take a tough stand, bring up the undiscussibles or share a personal vulnerability. Where do you need to act courageously?

When I think about roots, I get a sense of my values – past experiences – history – people who have helped me become who I am today. Who and what has shaped you to be the leader you are today? What are your core values and guiding principles? How connected and aligned have your actions and words been to your core self?

Drinking plenty of water is reminder that leaders must be in condition to lead. It’s common for leaders to put themselves last on their to-do list. But if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. And if you are tired, run down, stressed, etc., you won’t be operating at your best for others. It’s just like the pre-flight safety instructions for parents, “put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting your children with their oxygen mask.” So let a glass of water be your reminder for good overall self-care. Are you in need of a refill?

Be content with your natural beauty … and let it shine through. Be as accepting of yourself as you are with your children, partner, best friend or family member. Look deeply at your reflection in the mirrorwhat’s great about what you see?  My laugh lines were etched from many funny and humorous moments in life. How wonderful is that?

Look up from your phone, computer or reading material. Disconnect yourself for a few minutes. Be present right where you are. Soak in the moment and enjoy the view. What do you notice?