Ever thought of the chameleon as a role model for a successful leader? It’s true! Chameleons are fascinating creatures. Thy have the ability to switch up their color, a lightning quick tongue, and a pair of remarkable eyes! Valuable lessons can be learned from the chameleon – it doesn’t matter if you are a parent, head of a Fortune 500 company, or running a ministry.
Want to be a remarkable leader? Here’s what you can learn from a chameleon:
1. The value of being able to change colors
The most familiar characteristic of a chameleon is their ability to change colors. There is some debate as to why the chameleon changes color. Some believe chameleons change colors in order to camouflage themselves and blend in. Others think the change occurs as a reaction to the temperature and other environmental factors. There is also the theory that chameleons use their skin to communicate their feelings in the same way a mood ring changes colors. No matter what the reason, they are able to change colors in less than 20 seconds. That’s a quick change!
Leaders also need to quickly make changes so that they can approach those they lead in ways that work for their followers. In order to do that, they must have a solid understanding of their own personality type, learning preferences, values, strengths, and also be able to identify those in the people they lead. With this information they will be able to adjust the way they communicate and interact with those they lead to maximize effectiveness.
Imagine a chameleon that refused to change colors. It probably wouldn’t last long. Neither will a leader who is unwilling to adapt to those he/she leads. It would be foolish to think that the tree, leaf, or other surroundings would change to serve the chameleon. The burden of making the change is the leader’s responsibility.
2. The value of a lightning fast tongue
A chameleon is able whip its tongue out, capturing its prey in less than a second. That’s impressive! It helps that a chameleon’s tongue is one to two times the length of its body and that it has a suction cup on the end of it.
Leaders don’t want to use their tongues to capture those who follow them! It is not being a fast talker that we want to emulate. Scripture tells us to be slow to speak (James 1:19). Instead we want to be leaders who respond quickly to the needs of those we serve or to opportunities that might advance our overall objectives. In order to do that, you must be equipped and positioned in a way that allows you to respond quickly when necessary like the chameleon is able to quickly react when lunch shows up.
In order to be in a position to respond leaders must have two things. First, they must have margin in their schedule so there is time to take advantage of opportunities. Second, they must have a habit of developing their leadership skills so they will have the necessary abilities to take action.
3. The value of remarkable eyes
The eyes of a chameleon are able to operate independently from one another. That means that they can both be focused on something different. Each eye also has 360 degree arc of vision allowing them to sit still for long periods of time and yet still view everything around them.
Leaders rarely sit still for long periods of time but they do need to be able to have a clear vision in more than one direction. Leaders need to be able to clearly see the future and where we want to end up. Leaders also need to have an unhindered view of where things are right now so that we can skillfully direct the next steps. The leader’s span of vision must include how the world is changing and what adjustments are needed as a result of those changes. With this perspective, leaders are poised to move forward boldly!
Want to be more chameleon-like in your leadership?
Which chameleon-like trait do you need more of? Keep in mind that enhancing your leadership skills doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a combination of God’s help and your diligence. You will need to be willing to learn, grow, and change as a leader. Here are a few ways you can get started:
1. Seek out other leaders you admire to spend time with and glean practical insights from.
2. Regularly enhance your leadership skills by reading books, attending conferences or participating in webinars. Be sure to have a follow up plan or your time invested here will be in vain. Preparing in this way will enable you to respond with precision as various challenges or opportunities present themselves.
3. Ask someone you trust to check in with you to see that you are consistently doing what’s necessary to become the leader you want to be. Without an outside prodding it is more difficult to reach your desired goals.
4. Work with a Leadership Coach to walk with you on your leadership journey to help you make the changes you want to make. Often limiting mindsets and other obstacles are uncovered that have been holding you back from being the chameleon-like leader you desire to be. Collaborating with the right coach can be a powerfully synergistic relationship that will expand your leadership.
5. Spend quality time with God. He is eager to help you become a leader that fully walks in your purpose. You may think you don’t have time to connect with God, however, when you skip this step it makes everything else more complicated. Trust Him!
How about you? What chameleon-like trait is already successfully at work in your life and leadership? Which chameleon-like trait could use a little work?