There are so many lessons and parallels in the world of nature from which to draw inspiration. I have recently been inspired by the reflection of ants and how we can learn so much from observing them and understanding how they live.I was walking with a friend one sunny afternoon and we were talking about the qualities of a good leader and sharing our experiences about this, when we were interrupted and brought to a stop by some bull ants crossing the walking path.
They were a team of 3 that I couldn’t ignore, and no accident that they were crossing at this moment given the subject we were talking about. What they showed me as I observed them crossing was nothing short of extraordinary… I was shown in symbolism the qualities of a true leader.
I watched in amazement as these ants displayed a variety of qualities:
- They supported each other every step of the way
- Two of the ants were carrying the 3rd ant who was held in the middle, constantly sharing the load and the lead as they crossed the path
- The ant leading the way was always changing – they were sharing leadership so there was never one leader
- The equality and teamwork between each ant was very much felt
- Their movements were swift and performed with care
- Their purpose felt strong and unwavering
What a joy it was to behold and to witness. All of this in just one minute… an extraordinary and timely experience that left quite an impression on me, so I did some research on ants.
Did you know…?
- Even though an ant is smaller than your finger nail, it can lift 20 times its own body weight and carry it for long distances back to its colony.
- Ants live in colonies in large numbers consisting of millions.
- The queen ant lays approx. 30,000 eggs per day – her role is to produce for the colony.
- Ant colonies don’t have leaders – yes there is the queen ant, but she doesn’t tell the other ants what to do and yet they are an extremely organised and productive species.
- Ants use sounds and pheromones to communicate.
- Every ant knows its role and carries out its task with commitment and without hesitation.
- The role of an ant may change with age and depending upon the needs of the colony they simply do what is needed and thus do not consider any role as less.
What most impresses me about ants is their ability to work together as a team. What they can achieve is quite extraordinary. They are able to work together harmoniously for the good and unity of the colony because this is their common goal and purpose. Wow – ants are so inspiring!
So it got me to thinking – what if our work and home environments functioned from the same selfless quality of leadership and teamwork that ants do?
This experience on my walk was a gift from nature, reflecting to me the next evolutionary step of true leadership. It was exactly what I needed to see and observe that day given what had been unfolding in my life and the challenges I was experiencing in teamwork.
I knew what I had to do – to stay focused on purpose, to bring everyone with me in my team as equal leaders, and to support a way of working together where everyone was evolving.
This revelation from nature is a wonderful new way for me to look at true leadership and teamwork. I now have the opportunity to integrate this new awareness into my relationships … at home, at work, or wherever I am in the world.
by Marika Cominos, Director Playful Creations