Be prepared and plan ahead
No-one treks off into the wilderness without doing some research first, so knowledge and planning are vital. In the jungle, much like at work, situations can change rapidly so both survivalists and managers need to be prepared and have a plan. Establish milestones to mark your progress along the way (jungle explorers will often leave their own 'breadcrumb trails' to enable them to retrace their steps). And make sure you react to changes in circumstances - don’t be wedded to one way of thinking. If your plan isn’t working, have a contingency and be prepared to alter it.
Get in touch with your surroundings
There is a reason survivalists wear camouflage, and it’s not just to channel their inner Steve Irwin. It helps them to get closer to the world around them. In the workplace too managers need to tune into their own emotions as well as the feelings of those around them. Understand what makes your team tick, use their language, and understand their perspective, and you’ll keep your nose ahead.
Learn to control feelings of panic and anger. They are your most dangerous foes in the office, as in the jungle, since they interfere with your mind, the most useful and versatile survival tool you have. Staying calm and transforming negative feelings into positive energy will give you the focus and drive to overcome any obstacles the workplace throws in your way.
In the jungle, resources can be scarce, and smart survivalists will know how to get the best from whatever presents itself. If man can survive on rainwater and fallen fruit, you can stay alive in the office using tenacity, daring and a bit of flexibility to seize new opportunities and exploit them to your advantage.
Also, although you might be on your own in the wilderness, this will never be the case at work. As a manager, be sure to use your people management skills to get the best out of your team. Don’t give orders; give clear instructions about the results you expect.
David Pardey is the Institute of Leadership & Management’s senior research and policy manager. You can check out the ILM's Management Survival Guide here.