Skip to main content
The Oxford Group - A City & Guilds Group Business

Seasons and leadership

Elizabeth McManus

21 June 2021

Can awareness of the seasons help us lead better?

Wherever we are in the world, we’ve all got seasons going on. Maybe today you’re in the middle of an Australian winter or of a sunny European Spring. Maybe, depending on what’s happening for you with Covid, there’s almost a celebratory, summer release feeling going on. Or maybe you’re still in the dark of winter with the whole pandemic.

Wherever we’re located, awareness of the seasons has so much to offer us, as leaders and as humans. There’s a rhythm in nature and it’s a mistake to ignore it.

Nature’s seasons roll out in their glorious annual cycle, predictable according to geography. We have a sense of what to expect. Those clothes that come out for half the year and are packed away again. The habits that we repeat every year at the same time. Those ritual markers that help locate us in time, are anchors in a stormy sea. There are ceremonies, rites of passage and traditions that mark our journey and make up aspects of our identity. Often collective, often deeply personal, the ways we mark Nature’s changing seasons are as characteristic as our fingerprints. They help us know who we are, where we belong, what to do and when to do it.  

People have seasons too

Running alongside this collective rhythm are our personal seasons. Sometimes they harmonise with Nature, sometimes they clash with the world outside and we’re out of sync. 

What kind of energy do you feel as a leader in your personal seasons? How do you experience and express the fresh brightness of spring? The rich fullness of summer? The peaceful yielding of autumn and the silent void of winter?

What does this mean for leaders?

Leaders have an opportunity to notice what’s happening in real life, to honour people’s need for seasonal variations in energy and effort. To allow recovery time, not rapidly re-imposing business as usual, when all we really want and need to do is to lie in the sun for a bit and regroup. Finding ways to create a sense of space and room to take a breath.

At The Oxford Group, we believe that the post pandemic world of work invites leaders to dare to aim for wisdom. To choose practices, habits and ways of being that are in harmony with a seasonal flow. To ‘embody’ respect, attention, listening. Leaders who know that the wisdom of the seasons teaches us how to create conditions for more people to thrive in more workplaces

We can learn to deeply sense our own seasons and tune in to what they reveal.  Maybe it’s taking time with a coach to retune your perceptions. Maybe it’s challenging yourself to get serious about what “building inclusion” really means. Maybe it’s taking the space for deeper listening, fully hearing the richness of all the voices around you in your organisation.

As leaders, we can tune in to the seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter in those around us, in the natural world and in the eco-systems we live in. We can create more inclusive, more humane experiences for more people. The people we lead deserve it.

Try these simple ways to reconnect yourself to the seasons: open a window in spring to let the bird song enter, work outside sometimes in the summer, choose 1 object a week to let go of in autumn, take a walk on a cold winter’s day to refresh your mind.

If you’re thinking about how to build more inclusive and more humane experiences for people in your organisation, come and have a conversation with us about how our approach can help you get there.

If you would like to explore more of our insight articles please click here.