What Does It Take to Lead?
If you’ve ever watched wild wolves hunt, you know it’s a beautiful thing to see.
They typically hunt in packs, of course, but it’s about much more than that. They lie and wait – they don’t attack until the exact moment they need to strike…
And when they do, it’s perfectly coordinated.
How do they manage this? The leader – the alpha wolf – signals to each other wolf in the pack what they need to do.
Of course, there are such things as lone wolves, but they’re not nearly as effective in hunting.
This is because the advantage lies in the power of a coordinated attack.
Lone wolves usually end up surviving on rabbits and squirrels…
While pack wolves get to feast on big game like deer and elk.
What can we learn from this awesome natural display of power and strength?
First, yes, greater strength comes from numbers…
But more importantly, leadership. We can easily see how it takes a strong leader to lead a group to greatness.
Without the alpha wolf to communicate when to wait and when to finally move, no group hunt would be successful. It would just be an uncoordinated pack with individual members trying to gauge what to do next.
Instead of success and big, hearty dinners, those wolves could expect to frighten off a lot of their quarry. Without the alpha wolf, the other members of the pack could expect to wind up leaderless and hungry.
You see, there’s immense power in being still. Alpha wolves know this. My recent guest Elliot Hulse knows this, too.
Strongman Elliott Hulse
As a former professional Strongman and an internationally renowned strength and conditioning coach, Elliot knows a thing or two about power and leadership.
He runs the Strength Camp Gym and the YouTube channel of the same name where he trains men of all sorts of backgrounds in physical, physiological, psychological, and presentable strength.
When I interviewed him recently, he gave me his take on what is a very underappreciated leadership skill: the power of being still.
He says, “As an alpha male, you can rise above emotional distractions… If we can detach and look at ourselves and the emotional turmoil, and don’t let ourselves be carried away by the emotion of a situation, we then stand above the tumult.”
He continues, “To be alpha is to be rational, like a mountain. You must stand above it all and to be firm in chaos. The most alpha thing is not necessarily to dominate, it’s to lead.”
Generally speaking, when people think of leadership skills, stillness is the last thing that comes to mind. If you ask someone, “What makes a great leader?”, they’ll probably reply with, “Confidence, the ability to inspire others, a healthy capacity to prioritize and delegate…”
And all of those things are great, but they’re not as important as the power of being still.
Patience is Key
See, the ability to be still and wait for your decisive moment isn’t often appreciated, but it is completely necessary.
To use our example from above, if the alpha wolf didn’t understand that the pack should stay stationary and wait until the right moment, he would likely tell them to attack nonstop any time another animal was in the line of sight.
The other wolves would end up exhausted and hungry, they would develop a sense of distrust for their leader, and eventually, they’d work their way out of the pack and go find a new pack or go their own way and move on as a lone wolf.
Does that sound like any environment you’ve even been in before?
How about a bad office situation with an inept boss?
Characteristics of a True Leader
To remain still is to give yourself the space to make informed choices. When you can rise above temporary distractions, you no longer make emotional, hysterical decisions that do you harm in the long run. Insted, you can make your choices from a place of informed logic.
When you can remain still in the face of all that’s going on around you, you can be firm, resolute, and fair in the face of chaos.
No one wants a leader who flies off the handle and makes rash decisions in a chaotic situation. They want someone who can guide them through the pandemonium that the outside world offers.
Right now you’re probably wondering how you can apply this to your daily life, especially the part about remaining calm in chaos. I mean, who wouldn’t want to make the most sound, logical decision? Who wouldn’t want to be assured that they were leading from the right path, and that their family members and subordinates would appreciate them all the more for that?
Put into Action
While developing the attitudes and reflexes of great leadership may be complicated, it can be very simple if you let it. You must train your mind to remain calm no matter the situation.
I suggest you start small. First thing in the morning, tell yourself you’re going to remain calm in any situation. Tell yourself that you remain cool and unaffected no matter what comes your way. Repeat it like a mantra.
Then, when a small situation that would normally annoy you arises, note how you feel. It could be something as small as running out of cream for your coffee – when you notice the distraction and the temptation to feel annoyed over it, just let it go.
Practice this again and again. Throughout the course of the day, you’ll have plenty of chances, believe me.
As the day goes on, you’ll begin to notice you do feel calmer, less annoyed, and ultimately still.
Instead of having a build-up of irritations and frustrations, you’ll feel prepared, focused, and ready to strike when you really need to.
This is how you build strength through stillness – one day at a time.
Give it a chance and see how it changes your life and leadership forever.