Leadership in the Jungle

Leadership in the Jungle

My wife and I just got back from an amazing holiday in Costa Rica, the most biodiverse country in the world, with 5% of the world’s plant and animal life packed into that small country. We saw amazing lizards, iguanas, sloths, Coatis, hummingbirds, toucans, caimans, monkeys, the list goes on and on.

We were led by passionate and informed guides who brought such energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge to our trip. When were in Monteverde, we went on a stunning night hike into the cloud forest and were privileged to witness a sloth coming down a tree to go to the toilet! Our guide had only seen this happen 3 times in his 5 years of guiding. Why was this so rare? Well, as we learned, sloths live at the top of certain types of trees, they are herbivores and are nocturnal. They are also very slow! They only come down to the forest floor to go to the loo once a week at night and they speed up from very slow to slow. The frequency means they have the least amount of time in a vulnerable position, when they could be attacked by a predator like a jaguar.

Sloth in Costa Rica jungle

What does this have to do with leadership?

Our guides, as I’ve said, were amazing and we learned so much. This particular guide, who was I’m guessing about 30 years old, was a fountain of knowledge. On the way back to our hotel, I asked him where he gained all this knowledge?

I expected him to say through some sort of formal education, but how wrong I was. He was completely self-taught. He read widely and constantly upped his game. He made notes every time he guided, and he had a great network of other guides who helped each other find animals, flora and fauna and spread knowledge. I was so impressed by his growth mindset; he had taken control of his life through his attitude to learning and growth and had become a true professional, with a great future.

Expanding your knowledge is the route to success!

In the world we live in today, continuous learning is more than ever our route to success and leadership, both in life and in work. Those with a fixed mindset are not just leading a dull life, but are less likely to create a success of it and become fulfilled in their area. We are never too young or too old to learn new things and apply them.

Imagine if I now decided to turn off to the possibilities of AI, something that will revolutionise our lives, or I wasn’t interested how Steve Jobs built Apple (in his second spell in charge) which could help me in my leadership work, or how the new Space X Starship was built to eventually get people to Mars. A growth mindset also helps us to see that we might be wrong sometimes, that others may have a view from a more educated perspective and we should listen to them. Wouldn’t our lives and businesses be better if we took more time to listen and learn from each other?

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