by Alice Allen
Developing your own successful leadership practices can be an intensely personal journey. It requires a willingness to continuously grow and evolve to meet ambitious goals and respond to new challenges. In the Western world, dominated so fiercely by principles of individualism and competition, we may also experience it as a lonely path.
Imagine yourself standing in a forest. Lean trunks stretching skyward in every direction. Your gaze rests on one and travels slowly up, until your head drops back to take in a sprawling canopy. The rustle of leaves swaying almost seventy metres above you sounds like flowing water. A deep calm floods through you. Leaving your senses free to absorb the finest details of your surroundings, as if through a magnifying glass.
You may recognise this tree as the tallest, the most magnificent you have ever seen. But you are not witnessing the success of a solo voyage. Its growth and survival are linked to the community of trees around it, to a large and intricate root system offering nourishment, communication and stability. The same is often true of our own flourishing as individuals and leaders.
Nature has been a source of inspiration to some of our greatest thinkers and creators – from Albert Einstein and his quest to understand the laws of physics, to Walt Whitman’s poetic verses and the soulful watercolours of Australia’s own Albert Namatjira. There is growing scientific research that supports the many and diverse benefits of contact with nature.
Gone Bush recognises and values the wisdom inherent in the natural environment. Our guides and facilitators have developed powerful experiential learning techniques to share this transformational knowledge with you during our nature-based leadership programs.
Self-awareness and awareness of others is a fundamental leadership trait. The bush helps us to see ourselves in a more humble context – to recognise that in the scheme of things we are small and insignificant, but we can have an impact. And that impact ripples outwards.
Getting into nature really is beneficial, because those normal things that you do every single day as a routine are taken away. It creates a new sort of focus and that’s where the essence of true leadership comes out.
What transformational leadership qualities does the bush evoke?
The leadership activities and training provided on a Gone Bush learning and development program are uniquely designed to facilitate the experience and integration of the following leadership qualities:
Reflection – being in nature provides an opportunity to experience a level of stillness and calm beyond what is accessible to most of us in our everyday lives. A reflective practice cultivates greater listening and awareness.
Perspective – when we are faced with the magnificence, beauty and delicate intricacy of nature, it often inspires awe. Appreciating the scale of the natural world and our position within it encourages honesty and humility. It can transform the way we perceive ourselves, our purpose and potential.
Connectivity – the bush is a visual reminder that everything around us is interconnected and in relationship. Research shows that the positive emotions nature inspires can increase pro-social behaviours like trust and cooperation.
Impact – it is inevitable that we leave marks when we pass through nature, if only our footprints. Moving through the bush helps us to develop greater understanding and intentionality around our impact as team leaders.
Creativity – When we slow down and take in our natural surroundings, research suggests that our mental performance, including our capacity for creative problem solving, improves.
Openness – the bush is full of surprises, unexpected turns and events that unfold beyond human control. The ability to embrace what unfolds with agility and adaptability is fundamental to successful leadership.
“I haven't been on a bush walk in the past. The experience was eye-opening. The feeling that we are all part of something bigger is breath-taking. It was an experience I believe all current and future leaders can benefit from.” - Charles Chow, Participant from Gone Bush program for Bupa’s Future Leaders in Victoria’s Yarra Ranges
“So interesting, very relevant and great connection to purpose. I felt that I learnt so much about myself and grew. If you are looking to build your employees capabilities and help them grow themselves + then in turn others, this is the team! Professional organisation.” - Katrina King, Participant in Gone Bush program for Bupa’s Future Leaders in Queensland’s Lamington National Park
“The opportunity to disconnect from modern life, in such a beautiful setting has been priceless in reflecting and learning about the leadership journey. Gone Bush is definitely an inspiring experience that offers opportunities for professionals to grow and reflect in a natural environment, by very experienced facilitators.” - Anonymous, Participant in Gone Bush program for Bupa’s Future Leaders in Queensland’s Lamington National Park
“Something unexpected but everything I didn't know I wanted it to be. For growth, learning and engagement, take your people to Gone Bush. A truly immersive and enlightening experience.” - Rosa Yoo, Participant from Gone Bush program for Bupa’s Future Leaders in Victoria’s Yarra Range
Ready to take your next steps?
Give us a call today on +61432921414 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org