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How do the Masai & Matriarchal Elephants Accentuate Traditional vs Shared Leadership Styles & Organizational cultures

Updated: May 14

This weekly wilderness webinar was for those in organizational cultures wanting to be productive, make a difference and go to work each day with exuberance. An effectual elephant matriarch in Amboseli national park leading her troops with majesty and vision, inspired discussions about the pros and cons of traditional leadership; and her neighbours in the Inkankare Masai village offered us an experiential and insightful view of how their community connect and and work together. John, the village headman and elder, and Joseph, a teacher and youth leader in the community highlighted processes and concepts of shared leadership in action.

The reflections shared by one of the webinar participants, Amy Brocklebank, were expressed in this way to her colleagues in LinkedIn:

Last night, I had my most unusual Zoom call for a long time. When did you last speak to a Maasai Warrior about organisation culture and performance?

Recently, I've started speaking to organisations about evolving their culture, purpose and values, focusing on how they meaningfully connect and engage their teams. Many years ago, I spent hours standing by flip charts, facilitating teams as they 'wordsmithed' their unique purpose. Latterly, I've worked with teams helping them understand and clarify their purpose and contribution, importantly though, always in the context of the broader organisation purpose and values. It is crucial for so many, if not all of us, to understand how our contribution is meaningfully making a difference in the bigger scheme of things. Seems like the Maasai community sussed this long before I picked up my first flipchart marker pen.

John and Joseph spoke about their clear set of values, the roles everyone adopted in the community, how they are having to evolve and adapt as climate change impacts their everyday life. There seemed to be so many parallels between this incredible community based in Kenya, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, and some of the organisational challenges and opportunities I've experienced through my team development work.

My key Maasai Community takeouts:

- Everyone is clear on their role, their contribution and why their role and contribution is so important. Starting early, 5 year old boys are responsible for caring and guarding the goats. They know if the goats don't survive, their community doesn't survive.

- There are clearly understood values that the whole community live by (wisdom, humility, honesty, courage, responsibility, respect and hope).

- Although roles are clearly defined for everyone, by age and gender, the level of interconnectivity was very clear. The women built the houses, one house at a time, together. This is a community that understands the benefit and need of working together.

- Conflict, when it arises is addressed by the Elders. The Elder role has responsibility to resolve conflicts and disputes. No conflict is allowed to fester and build, it is respectfully addressed and resolved.

- Due to changes in their environment, the community has had to evolve, creating beadwork to sell to tourists visiting nearby and the community is shifting from pastoralists to agriculturalists to adapt and thrive. Although there is a clear identity and heritage that is revered, this is a community that is adapting and responding successfully to disruption beyond their control or influence.

Thank you so much to Mandy Young for inviting me to join your call. If you'd like to explore the wilderness, have a look at Mandy's work at Wilderness Encounters Africa.

The recorded video below will link you in to other fascinating features of this discussion

On the next weekly wilderness webinar we continue to understand the value of nature in defining personal and organizational processes together with Robin Hills, Emotional Intelligence Assessor and Course Developer, as we explore a Tetramap revealing 'Why are You Like That?' understandings foundationed on the four Natural elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire.

Participants who have engaged with this holistic process of emotional intelligence assessment for personal development and organizational teamworking have expressed:

  1. The Why Are You Like That? Tetramap, co-constructed by Jon and Yoshimi Breft, is holistic, simple to use and based on natural processes familiar to everyone, with a call for all to contribute and benefit.

  2. The Why Are You Like That? Tetramap is simple, cost effective and adds huge value, especially if are a manager beginning with a new team, because this approach helps people relax and feel comfortable with each other; participants gain understandings of themselves and others in terms of how they operate personally, and in the work place; and as a leader you will gain more clarity as to where each team member is coming from, and their intent.

So if you would like to discover if you are:

  • An Earthy, firm, reliable, hands on person

  • A clear thinking, visionary Air person

  • A Watery, calm caring fluid-flowing person, or

  • A Fiery, optimist bringing warmth and inspiration

Please join us on Tomorrow's Weekly Wilderness Webinar titled:

Why Are You Like That?

Date & Time: Wednesday, 24th April 2024 at 6pm UK time.

We will go another vicarious, wildlife safari to discover and our host will be a chameleon!

Email me on if you would like to be included on future Weekly Wilderness Webinars so that you do not lose out.

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