Why the Lowly Dandelion Is a Better Metaphor for Leaders than the Mighty Banyan

In my post in the Harvard Business Review,  I encourage leaders to act more like the dandelion, a small weed that lives an unremarkable, fleeting life.

Banyans are among the world’s largest and longest-living trees, and have come to symbolize strong, stable leadership in South East Asian culture.

From conventional reasoning, you’d be hard pressed to find a management guru who would recommend that we lead like dandelions. Yes, dandelions are prolific and fight for territory, but they don’t grow large and they do their time in a season and then fade away, giving other species a chance to thrive. So despite its reputation, the dandelion leaves the environment around it a better place. The resilient, flexible, nurturing style of the dandelion might be more emblematically better suited to today’s modern digital world and its constant change than the rigid, inflexible style of leadership reflected by the Banyan. The dandelion challenges leaders to think differently about three critical dimensions across their business: Time, Resources, and People.

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