3 Ways To Be A Remarkable Chameleon-like Leader


Want to be a remarkable leader? Have you ever thought of the chameleon as a role model for being a successful leader?

It doesn’t matter if you are leading in the capacity of a parent, as the head of a Fortune 500 company, by overseeing a ministry, or by running a business, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the chameleon. I know chameleons are an unlikely example, but chameleons are fascinating creatures! They have some pretty nifty and unique characteristics!

Here are just a few of them:

1. The Value of Changing Colors

Chameleons are well-known for their ability to change colors. In fact, they are able to switch colors in less than 20 seconds! That’s speedy!

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. Another theory is that chameleons use their skin to communicate their feelings in the same way a mood ring changes colors. Whatever the reason, it’s impressive!

Leaders also must be able 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, thinking preferences, values, strengths, and also be able to identify those same traits in the people they lead. With this information adjusting the way they communicate and interact with those they lead is possible allowing leaders to increase their influence and effectiveness.

Imagine a chameleon that refused to change colors. It probably wouldn’t last very long. Neither will a leader 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.

Adapting and changing to fit the needs of those they lead is the leader’s responsibility. Trying to be just like other leaders – that’s not they kind of blending in I’m talking about.

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 ridiculously fast! You might be surprised to learn that a chameleon’s tongue is one to two times the length of its body, which you would think might be more cumbersome and slow the movement down. It’s also worth noting that the chameleon’s tongue has a suction cup on the end of it.

Scripture tells us to be slow to speak (James 1:19) so beware; in this case a fast talker is not the example to follow. And leaders certainly don’t want to use their tongues to capture those who follow them!

Instead you want to be a leader who responds quickly to the needs of those you serve or to opportunities that might advance your overall objectives. In order to do that, you must be equipped and positioned in a way that allows you to take immediate action when necessary, just like the chameleon is able to quickly take advantage of grabbing lunch when the opportunity 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 the leadership skills and abilities to take action. That’s why it is critical that you are consistently growing and developing yourself as a leader.

3. The Value of Remarkable Eyes

Did you know that the eyes of a chameleon are able to operate independently from one another? That means that each eye can be focused on something different. And an added bonus: each eye has a 360 degree arc of vision allowing them to sit still for long periods of time and yet still view everything around them.

Let’s be honest, leaders rarely sit still for long periods of time – I’ll give you that! However, leaders do need to have a clear vision in multiple directions. You need to be able to clearly see the future and where you and/or your organization want to end up.

You also need to have an unhindered view of where things are right now so that you are able to adeptly direct the next steps. The leader’s span of vision must include how the world is changing and what adjustments are necessary as a result of those changes. With this perspective, leaders are poised to move forward boldly! Leaders with this ability will be the ones that come out on top following the ramifications of Covid-19!

Want to be more chameleon-like in your leadership? Which chameleon-like trait do you need? Keep in mind that enhancing your leadership skills won’t just happen overnight. It takes a combination of your diligence and God’s help; the two of you partnering together. And you will need to be willing to learn, grow, and change.

To be a more chameleon-like leader, here’s what you need to get started:

1. Look Around You.

Who are the leaders you admire; look up to? Be intentional about seeking them out and spending time spending time with them. You might be surprised at the practical insights you are able to glean from them.

2. Deliberately Enhance Your Leadership Skills.

There are a variety of ways to do that including reading books, attending conferences or participating in webinars. Just a word of caution, if you don’t have a follow-up plan or way to implement what you’ve learned, the time you’ve invested will be in vain. The drift back to old ways is strong!

3. Seek Accountability

Ask someone you trust to check in with you to confirm you are taking the steps to grow that you said you would to become the leader you want to be. Without an outside nudge, reaching your desired goals will be less likely to take place.

4. Partner With A Coach.

A coach guides you in a way that leads to valuable insights on what needs to change, concrete actions steps, and are a sounding board that’s invaluable to leaders. Knowing what needs to change is not always obvious.

Collaborating with the right coach results in a powerfully synergistic relationship that expands your capacity as a leader. A coach is able to help you tap into your chameleon-like abilities as you explore the limiting beliefs that are keeping you stuck, eliminate skill gaps, work through your fears, and help you deal with the obstacles you face.

5. Spend Quality Time With God.

He’s eager to help you become a leader that walks more fully in who He created you to be. You may think you don’t have time to connect with God, however, skipping this step actually makes everything a whole lot more complicated. Trust Him!

What have you learned from the chameleon? How are you developing yourself as a leader?

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / CathyKeifer

This popular post was originally posted on 10/15/14. It’s been updated just for you!

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.

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