Leadership lessons from a lion

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see a Lion or hear about one?  Is it its strength? Is it its fierceness and its boldness? Is it is regal, majestic bearing? Or is it its magnificent appearance? Whatever it is you know about the Lion, you will still have to agree that it is a special animal, in fact it is so special that it is referred to as the “King of the Jungle” (even though it is mostly found in grasslands)

The Lion as an animal is one that every leader and aspiring leader should strive to learn from. For that reason we have selected five facts about lions and the lessons you can learn from them.

 FACT: A Lion’s roar can be heard from five miles away:

LESSON: Make yourself heard

A famous author once said “You may have a heart of gold, but then so does a hardboiled egg.” You may have good intentions in mind, but if you don’t say them out, nobody will know how noble they are. There are plenty of animals that are bigger and stronger and have more stamina than the Lion, there are animals that are faster, there are animals that are even better hunters, but what makes the Lion arguably the most fearsome animal to walk the earth is its voice, its voice is its reputation. Many of us never met Albert Einstein, but we all have knowledge of him because he had something to say and he said it. Many of us never met people like Adolf Hitler or Mother Theresa of Calcutta, but we know about them because they had statements to make and they made those statements.  It is important for you to know that the statement you make is not just about what you say, the things you do and your character is part of what make your reputation. The Lion knows that its roar precedes it everywhere it goes, that is why it is the epitome of boldness. If you develop your reputation properly, your boldness will increase as well Never make the mistake of believing that your friends, or siblings or neighbours or co-workers should be able to read your mind. Remember what 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 know you have a talent or a gift, use it.  Go out and make friends, a recluse is of no use to anyone. As the popular maxim goes “unless the tortoise sticks its head out of its shell it cannot go anywhere”

FACT:  Lions Are Very Social Animals; They Form Groups Called Prides With Sometimes As Many As Forty Individuals In a Pride:

LESSON:  Interact 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 road that must be travelled alone and that the task of leadership is a burden that cannot be shared. While these assertions are true to some extent, we all still have to recognize that there is a reason that we have family members, friends, co-workers, bosses, mentors followers or even employees. They are not just there because they are our blood or they have something to gain from us, they are there to rejoice with us in happy moments, to share sorrows with, to impart knowledge to us and to help us in our travels on the highway of life. One fascinating thing about a pride of lions is that other females are always ready to help a female babysit her cubs when she goes hunting.  We should recognize that the reason why the sea is so big is that it has many small rivers, streams, and rivulets feeding it. The leader should recognize himself as a river feeding others and being fed by others in turn. A river which isolates itself, which feeds nothing and which nothing feeds will sooner or later start to stink or dry up. Remember the popular acronym TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More).

FACT:  A Lion can Spend up to 20 Hours a Day Sleeping: 

 LESSON: There Is a Difference between a Leader and a Slave, Find Time to Relax

The temptation to work and work until one collapses from sheer exhaustion has never been greater than it is in our current society. Every day we wake up, there are always targets to meet, meetings to participate in, dates to keep and objectives to realize. As a result we are tempted to work and work as slaves, we give ourselves freely to our activities and to people around us, yet we fail to realize that we need time for ourselves, we are constantly burnt out and worn out yet we do not see the need to relax. And so we slave our lives away like worker bees and do not enjoy the short time we have to live. Learn from the Lion who knows that every day it must eat, yet still sleeps for more than half the day. In spite of this perceived irresponsibility, the Lion never goes hungry. The irony of work is that it never finishes, the more you do, the more you still have to do. French playwright Moliere says: “Our minds need relaxation, and give way, unless we mix with work, a little play.” In the insect kingdom workers are the ones that have nothing else to do but work, one of the marks of a leader is that he does not soil his hands with work meant for his followers. If you want to have an enjoyable life, learn to not let activity dominate your life. Find time to relax

 FACT: Lions rarely eat entire prey, they usually leave leftovers for other animals like hyenas AND vultures:

LESSON: the ability to share is the hallmark of a leader

When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package. Magnanimity is one of the attributes that defines a man as a true leader. Every leader has people following him and it is the duty of that leader to ensure that those followers get a fair distribution of every benefit that accrues to the organization.  Being a leader is not just the ability to give commands or share out work, it is also 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 popular Yoruba proverb which says “the old man that eats without consideration for the people around him, will carry his load home by himself.”  If you want 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, is still considerate enough to leave leftovers for carrion eaters. There is no level of need that should prevent you from giving to others. Jack London gives us an advice: “A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is a bone shared with the dog when you are just as hungry as the dog.”