LION Wisdom: PLay, Practice & Rest

“Sometimes you have to play a long time to be able to play like yourself.” — Miles Davis

The lion is the most social of the big cats and also one of the most widely recognized animals in all human cultures. Lion legends can be quite mythic and mesmerizing but what interests us most is the way lions learn - through play and endless practice with each other before heading out into the world. They have big jobs after all.

Similarly, cultivating the art of leadership is an endless dance between no-stakes practice (or play) behind closed doors and high-stakes actions, with periods of rest and renewal required to maintain laser-focused attention when it matters. Learning out loud with others is part of the journey and it can actually be fun. 

integrating Emotional & NON-VERBAL PARTS OF LEADERSHIP

Leadership is a path not unlike the paths of professional athletes, martial artists, and jazz musicians, with the steps involving much more time practicing together than actually performing. Mistakes, improvisation, and endless repetitions are integral to deep learning. A physician's non-verbal skills affect the mood in a clinic as well as patient satisfaction. An entrepreneur’s body language affects investors’ confidence. Any leader in a bad mood transmits anxiety or pessimism like wildfire, with work suffering accordingly.

Because leaders are always being scrutinized not just for whether their words match their deeds and what it feels like to be in their presence, we specialize in integrating the emotional and non-verbal elements into our programs.

Research shows that non-verbal cues have a far greater effect on communication (and relationships) than the words we choose. Facial expressions. Gestures. Stance. Pace. Tone. Mood. These things  create rapid-fire impressions and emotional affect, and they play a significant role in whether people trust or want to follow us. 


To support a more embodied and resilient style of leadership, we introduce practices inspired by improv, storytelling, aikido, basketball, jazz, and various mindfulness disciplines.  Over time, these practices help clients become more reliably centered, present, and able to respond to challenging, ever-changing circumstances. 

Clients routinely share that they have become better partners and parents as well as leaders and wish they had received coaching earlier in their careers. Because of this, many go on to offer coaching to their most promising emerging leaders, not only to support individual growth but also to retain hard-to-find talent in more meaningful ways.