I’ve been meaning to write about this rare breed of leader for some time and now seems to be the right time to share my thoughts about “The Corporate Buffalo”.
Here’s a little about the Buffalo:-
Even in ranch environments, buffalo have retained their natural instincts for survival. They can weather storms and help their newborn calves survive in blizzards that would kill entire herds of cattle. Buffalo stand face first into the winter winds as the wind blows their hair down. They don’t turn their hindquarters into the wind, nor do they move with it. Their heavy winter coats provide all the protection they need from the bitter cold.
In the past 10 years I have been lucky enough to work with / coach 1,000’s of leaders and in all that time I have only come across a couple of leaders that I believe have similar strengths to the buffalo.
These individuals are senior leaders in the organisations they work in and have a deep sense of values that drive their decision making and are the sort of leader you would want to follow and go the extra mile for, because you know they are authentic.
The corporate buffalo values their team and has the ability to face the sometimes harsh storms that show up when there is a conflict of interest, when the old style of leadership attempts to get more from the business with fear and the big stick approach. The tools the corporate buffalo use are their powers to inspire & motivate individuals to take action because they have an ability to connect their teams to something bigger than just a job/salary. Their key is that they engage people emotionally, they demonstrate that they care and their team see this by the leaders actions when under pressure.
When the cold wind blows, most people naturally turn away and go with the flow but not the corporate buffalo, they stand and face the wind head on. This takes immense courage and is a key aspect to what inspires others around them, as they see their leader standing for something more than just the bottom line.
They have balance in the 3 core aspects of their lives, Self – Family & Work which is very rare nowadays!
This rare breed of leader is present and highly aware of the importance of taking care of themselves 1st, this is counter intuitive and might seem selfish, yet it’s the most important aspect of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Being comfortable in your own skin as a human and being OK with yourself warts and all, allows a solid base for you to develop the other aspect of EI which is being OK with others. So to be Emotionally Intelligent requires having a high Self Regard & a high Regard for Others, in transactional analysis terms it’s the I’m OK, You’re OK stuff.
The corporate buffalo is someone who takes care of themselves and is aware of the importance of their health and wellbeing, these individuals look in the mirror and ask themselves the difficult questions about what role they are playing to create whatever is showing up in every aspect of their lives. They look at the results that are showing up personally and professionally and take 100% responsibility for it all, as they know that there is deep learning in taking this approach.
Regarding their family lives, once again they have the presence of mind to be available when they are with their loved ones, too often, we forget that it’s the most important gift to be 100% available to our partners and children when we get home. The pace of corporate life has become so fast, that to stay ahead we fall into the trap of doing more hours at the cost of our own health and wellbeing and on top of that, our families suffer.
Once again, the corporate buffalo lives by their strong sense of values and makes certain that they attend the school plays or the important rugby match or netball game to cheer their children on. That stuff counts on so many levels and nourishes your soul knowing that you’ve made yourself available, with your phone switched off of course!
At work they are so aware of the impact they have on everyone around them, not just their immediate team but everyone they interact with during their working day. They are acutely aware of subtle things like using their Blackberry whilst in a meeting and how that can switch others off if they are not fully present. They use their intuition and check for understanding if they sense people aren’t on board or engaged.
Their biggest strength is that they don’t buckle under pressure and change direction just to please their boss, they have the courage to say no when something doesn’t match their values or at least they will strongly challenge and come up with other options to find a better solution.
I look forward to your comments and hope you enjoy the video clip from the Rocky Balboa film which is a summary of how these people view life.