Banyans are among the world’s largest and longest-living trees, and have come to symbolize strong, stable leadership in South East Asian culture. However, Vivek Bapat reporting for the Harvard Business Review, encourages today’s digital leader to act more like the dandelion. You may now gasp, “a small weed?!”
Yes, a dandelion is indeed a small weed that lives an unremarkable, fleeting life.
Why the dandelion and not the banyan?
From conventional reasoning, you would be hard pressed to find a management guru who would recommend that we lead like dandelions. Lions, tigers, cheetahs – yes. Baobab, Redwood, Giant Sequoia – totally. But dandelions? Well… YES! Why not?
Dandelions are prolific and fight for territory, but they don’t grow large and they do their time in a season and then fade away, giving other species a chance to thrive. So despite its reputation, the dandelion leaves the environment around it a better place. The resilient, flexible, nurturing style of the dandelion might be more emblematically better suited to today’s modern digital world and its constant change than the rigid, inflexible style of leadership reflected by the Banyan.
The Digital Leader
According to Vivek, the dandelion challenges leaders to think differently about three critical dimensions across their business: Time, Resources, and People.
“In a fast-changing world, leaders must preserve the personal authenticity, moral compass, and clarity that defines them, especially as their companies grow. Just as the dandelion helps other plants to flourish, leaders must focus not on expanding their own empires but on allowing others to thrive. Resilient leaders choose their metaphors carefully, keep their egos in check, and leave their environments richer than they found them, clearing the way for new leaders to take root.”
Interesting – definitely worth exploring.
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