Once again the Lunar New Year is upon us, so we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on the leadership lessons we can learn from this year’s animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac. February 8th, 2016 was the start of the Year of the Monkey. According to ChineseZodiac.com, the strengths of the monkey revolve around cleverness, intuition, and craftiness. All admirable traits on their own, the real luck for the monkey is an affinity for using them in the face of challenge.
Challenge is the crux of any achievement. The obstacle that must be overcome for success. The ability to thrive in high pressure situations is something we all strive for and is a huge determinant of our ability to succeed in the face of challenge. No one sees those moments more often than a leader. Learning how to tap into the strengths associated with the Year of the Monkey is an important step for effective leadership in those tense moments when swift actions must be taken and only creative solutions can bring success. The real leadership lesson from the Year of the Money is about staring challenge in the face and persevering through it.
According to Forbes, intuition is among the top ten qualities of leaders. When a challenge pops up, the path to success involves “leading a team through uncharted waters” and knowing how to act in high pressure situations. Being able to confidently guide a team through tense moments without a roadmap is essential and a critical step on the way to big achievements. Leaders can learn from the monkey’s confidence and their intuition to get their teams through the tough situations that always precede success.
Trusting that gut instinct is one thing Emergenetics knows all about. Those of you with a Social thinking preference might be more inclined to trust your gut instincts, but everyone, even those without a preference in Social thinking, can tap into that tool. In an editorial for Inc.com, Emergenetics International Founder, Dr. Geil Browning discusses the mixture of logic and emotion that goes into making a snap decision based off of gut intuition. She describes experience like puzzle pieces that can be put together while the gaps can be accounted for by the emotional response to any given situation. Leaning on your intuition allows you to trust these gaps and move forward towards the expected result without having everything figured out. For more information, this article describes the most effective ways to use intuition in your day to day life based on your Emergenetics attributes.
Making quick decisions is only half the battle though. Another leadership lesson aspiring leaders can learn from the Year of the Monkey, is to seek a clever answer rather than just settling for the easiest one. One of the definitions for cleverness is a “subtle or imaginative ability in inventing, devising, or executing something”, having mental quickness, ingenuity, and shrewdness. Leaders can use their cleverness to put together a creative solution during tough, high-pressure situations. In the same article, Forbes says leaders should be creative. A creative leader can develop solutions that others may not see, especially in times when it would be easy to lose yourself in the pressure. The crafty intelligence of the monkey can be used for pranks like ChineseZodiac.com suggests, but they can also use their cunningness to successfully work through a challenging situation.
While it’s easy to assume people with a preference for Conceptual thinking might have an edge with this, the truth is that everyone can come up with creative solutions to a challenge. Another post on our blog discusses how different Emergenetics preferences can still be creative using their own natural strengths and the gifts of their Profile. Even though the Conceptual brain may be a step ahead in the brain storming process (since they have an affinity for the creative process and tend to always be thinking outside of the box) everyone can be creative, and every attribute plays a unique and important role in identifying a creative solution.
The Year of the Monkey represents many of the skills leaders need to do great things in tough situations. Everyone will have to face trials at some point in their life and during their career. There will always be some risk associated with innovation, change, and while leading your team through uncertain waters. But during this time, remember that challenges can lead to great things. In the words of Henry Ford, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind not with it.” The trick is not to recognize resistance as blocking you, but to see it as helping you move forward. It is a chance for you to tap into your strengths and use your cleverness, intuition, and craftiness to succeed against all odds. So as we celebrate this Lunar New Year, remember to appreciate your challenges and look to the monkey for leadership inspiration.