Bee Leadership Styles

inspiration leadership Oct 18, 2021

Do you want to be an effective leader? First, ask yourself, what makes your leadership sweet?

Successful leadership development requires innovation, curiosity and some creative learning. If anything, it needs to challenge you to become a little uncomfortable and try something new.

Creating new perspectives from experience can help to expand our understanding of how leadership functions.

I have recently ventured into "beeing" (yes, I couldn't help myself!) a beekeeper. The learning experience has been fantastic, and it's nice to know I am playing a part in restoring the bee population.

It has got me thinking about leadership and what makes a leader attractive? The old catch-phrase of 'bees to honey' comes to mind. Perhaps we might say an effective leader is like 'followers to vision'... or something like that.

What I like about bees is just how they keep the idea of leadership style so simple. If I was to ask you what is your leadership style you might come up with some combination of several dozen descriptors; servant, authentic, transformative, visionary, affiliative, coaching, democratic, pace-setting, and Laissez-Faire.

You might identify bees with the pace-setting style; watch the short video I produced in slow-motion. The buzzing sound is like a bunch of helicopters. If anything, it is mesmerising.

While learning about beekeeping, I thought about the three styles of "Bee-leadership": Drones, Workers and Queens. Understanding leadership styles is about understanding the behaviours, actions and knowledge that we expect to find.

The Drone leadership style:
This highly focused style understands the power of purpose. The drone has large eyes, which means they have excellent vision. Because they don't have a stinger, they focus on more inclusive approaches to motivate. They are unlikely to abuse their positional power with no stinger and instead rely more on soft skills.

The Worker leadership style:
This style requires knowledge of many different tasks, yet the functions of these leaders often change with age. Therefore, they rely on experience to shape how they lead. When they start their roles, they first clean out their cell; as leaders, they know how to model the way. One of their roles can include clearing out the dead, so you could say they love change management. Well, they know when change is needed.

The Queen leadership style:
This style develops from the 'royal jelly'; specialised training, perhaps coaching. These leaders are identified early as emerging leaders and then nurtured into being effective. They are oversized, which means they have charisma. They also produce pheromones to regulate the behaviour of workers. Followers are attracted to their leadership style. This style inspires action and commitment.

As a leader, it is not a simple process of determining your particular style. The more effective leaders know what type of style is required for the situation they face, and they can adjust their behaviour accordingly. Unlike bees, we have the choice to lead in diverse, creative and powerful ways.

What are some characteristics that define your leadership style?


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