Five ways the outdoors can help you become a more successful leader

Nigel Berman, founder and chief wild officer at School of the Wild
Nigel Berman, founder and chief wild officer at School of the Wild

A wise man once told me leadership is a choice. You get up one day and decide to do something, and you step forward and you do it. And you keep doing it with small and big actions every day to make it happen.

It takes courage, and the path never leads where you expect. But when the doubts, the naysayers, the endless to-do lists, decisions, responsibilities and hard work needed to be a success get on top, where do you turn?

Here are five ways getting outdoors into nature can help you be more successful:

– Switch off and get time away from doing. Studies show just 20 mins a day in nature can help you de-stress, recharge, and get your mojo back. Time in nature reduces your blood pressure, your cortisol levels, and boosts your immune system. Get away from your desk, go outside and remember what you’re doing it all for.

– Nature supports better conversations. As a leader you have to get people on side to bring them along. It’s all about communication and listening. In offices there are power positions, status and gender inequalities, and sitting opposite each other sets up a particular dynamic. Outside we’re all equal. So remove the walls between you, go for walk and talk meetings instead – because the best conversations never happen in a meeting room.

– Nature is where your best ideas come from. Research shows nature boosts creative problem solving by as much as 50 per cent, so stop turning the problem over and over in your head, go for a walk, and see how nature helps you find an answer.

– Build better teams in the outdoors. All leaders need good helpers and collaborators to do great things. Working with others and building a team is all about trust, empathy and being able to have honest conversations. So take your team outside: in a different environment you’ll get to know each other and build human connections. It’ll help you work together better and do better work.

– Share and learn with other leaders in nature. Other leaders are the only people who really understand what you’re going through. Nature is the great leveller, so if you meet other leaders in the outdoors, you’ll connect with each other faster, and you’ll be able to more honest, authentic and heartfelt – which is when the magic happens.

Nigel Berman led a Brighton Chamber Campfire session: Become the leader everyone wants to work with on June 6. For more information about Brighton Chamber and forthcoming training events, visit www.businessinbrighton.org.uk