Thursday, 26 March 2015

Bear Grylls as the Template for Every Manager


When Bear Grylls commands you to do something challenging or even terrifying, there's a difference in how he asks.  Small difference to him I would imagine, and life-changing for you.  Bear is a leader, an alpha dog, and the guy you'd want with you if ever you were to be lost in the wilderness.

Not sure of whom I speak?  Bear Grylls is a popular wilderness enthusiast who has had a tv show for many years showing the viewer how to survive being lost anywhere in the world.  Irish-born and then having served in the British military, Bear is an expert at survival.  I grew up in the country, so I feel the comfort of the wilderness too.  And yet I have learned so very much from watching him. Recently, he's been doing specials with celebrities and here is where you really see how and why a 'Bear Grylls template' should be the norm for every manager dealing with subordinates.

"The wild always rewards commitment." ~Bear Grylls

For bear, the wild is what he attempts to manage.  Rather than seeing the wild as his opponent, Bear sees it as his partner.  An ever-changing, ever-evolving partner that he must learn to work with on a day-to-day basis.  Each episode of his show "Man vs. Wild" which can be viewed on Youtube, saw Bear in a different location, managing the risks and dangers of the area.  He's an expert at using what the wild gives him, making a leak-proof bedding area out of what seems like nothing but raspberry bushes!  Or using garbage that has traveled across the ocean to the other coast, to make a raft to get home.  Now that's a full-circle moment.  To Bear, the wild gives him new things and old things, borrowed things perhaps too.  What I respect most about Bear is that he's an expert at knowing what you can use and take from the wild, without doing it harm.  He can work his way through the densest jungley wilds and leave them virtually seeming untouched by man.  He takes from the wild what he needs to complete the task at hand, leaving it to continue doing what the wild does.

"The team always rewards commitment." ~the couch activist  :)

What if you replaced the word 'wild' with workforce, team, or subordinates?  As a manager you take from each of them, what is offered.  Each ideally offering something differently unique but equally useful.  Nothing you do harms the growth of the wild, the workforce, the team ... for growth and individual uniqueness is what you want in a team!

In his recent episodes like "Bear's Wild Weekends With ..." , I see his celebrity guest as his employee, he as their manager.  Each episode shows Bear deftly 'managing' wee egos, weak stomachs & muscles, and individual personalities that he always manages to get to the other side of the ravine.
Do you know how he does it?

I've been watching Bear a long time.  I admittedly have a bit of a crush on him.  I've especially watched his managing magic in these recent episodes where you can tell his guests are at the breaking point, but he doesn't let them let the fear take over.  I think he does it by always going first.  He's always the first down the rope, into the water, and out of the heli.  Bear shows every guest that what he's asking them to do, he can do and will do also.

At times, during late hours of being lost in the jungle, you can see the struggle in his tired eyes.  But he keeps on.  I've seen fear in them too a few times.  But only momentarily.  He reminds me of my Rotti Sasha and how she used to try to corral me away from my horses at first.  She thought her job was to keep them way from me, though they scared her shitless. But she swallowed that fear long enough to put herself between us, and hopping on her front paws she'd bump into my legs and try to take off in the other direction enthusiastically.  Bear wreaks of enthusiasm ... even when his tea is hot stream water and a tassle of evergreen.

I guess in the end, a good manager like Bear is someone who can make the best out of what is given.
A good manager should see each day, each location, or each situation as a fresh one to conquer. Doing so, with the knowledge that your team is behind you committed to the jump or day ... as much as you are.