The Buzz of Leadership

Blog 20-06-09 Photo

Do as I say, not as I do…that is the sound of integrity missing, not showing up where it is needed. Right now, there are numerous examples of this (masks, murders, and mayhem). In contrast, Spring in the Northern Hemisphere has me seeing buzzing bees and floral blooms everywhere. This time of ‘awakening’ offers many events vying for our attention. I focus here on what is needed versus what is wrong in the world. At core of integrity is leadership and there are lessons to be learned about it from bees.

Much has been written about the similarity between the two. For example, with both bees and leadership: Communication and collaboration is key for trust, preparation is vital to survival, and leaders unite others into a rhythm needed to produce. It takes a relationship system to build a colony or culture that works, is integrative, and sustains. So, humor me as we explore a little more about the what, who, how, and why of bees and leadership.

Bees know where to focus. Case in point: They do not concentrate on the most productive flower spots, knowing that a ripe bloom will eventually run out of nectar. They continuously shift where they focus, one flower at a time. Similarly, leaders are agile and adapt to their rapidly changing environment to create a viable future for others.

There is genetic diversity amongst bees, allowing them to play different and critical roles in their ability to respond to changing climates. Without that, they would literally die. And it does matter who’s at the top – the higher quality the Queen Bee, the greater the honey yield. Worker bees (insect and human types) are affected by performance of the top leader (Queen Bee and Chief Executive) and vice versa. When people follow a leader, the collective thrives.

Worker bees do not have to vet decisions with leader bees. Distributed decision-making is one of the tenets of the colony culture. They are clear on their mission and can act accordingly without delay. Leadership happens from wherever you are—you don’t need to be at the top—and operates out of shared purpose.

Bees always find their way home. They are anchored in certain constants that remind them where they came from, as well as where they need to go. The most brilliant examples of leadership emerge from grounding in what is important and then aligning people towards a desired outcome.

Like bees, we must act together to thrive. Lean into your colony…they’ve got your ‘wings’ (back)!

This Week: Whatever emotion you may be feeling due to current events, reach out to someone you can lean on and each share: 1) what emotion you are experiencing, and 2) what you believe is needed (for you, others, in your world). Talk about what is possible from here.

In Next Week’s Post: Defining roles

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  1. Mike Edwards on July 3, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Love the metaphor! In these challenging times, we do need to keep finding our way forward rather than focusing so much on what’s wrong.

    • laithos on July 3, 2020 at 9:37 pm

      Wholeheartedly agree.

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