Daily Archives: July 10, 2021

Hike Leadership Metaphors Forward: Nucleoplasm

I have been a happy participant in several freindly,summer, water balloon battles. I have four children who, when younger, were my cohorts in epic wars in the back yard. Part of the fun is filling the balloons with water and getting the ammunition ready for the wet battle ahead. My wife was the ammunition expert who supplied the majority of the water-filled hand grenades. We would head to the backyard with small buckets filled with these wiggly, balloons filled with water ready to explode on contact.

Now, I am not a biologist and I do not want to over simplify this metaphor, but imagine that same water balloon on a microscopically small scale, even down to the size of a single cell! Picture that balloon as the nucleus of the cell – the control center where many of the key processes to sustain and perpetuate life occur. The balloon is a picture of the nucleus and the water is the nucleoplasm.

It is not a coincidence that organism and organization come from the same root idea. A single-cell organism and an organization have much in common. As we relate the organization to a cell, the nucleus of the organization is the control center that contains many of the key processes that sustain and perpetuate the mission of the organization. This metaphor then paints the leader as the nucleoplasm. Let’s quickly examine four of the main functions of the nucleoplasm and hopefully the metaphor will make a little more sense.

#1. The nucleoplasm helps cushion the nucleus and therefore shields it from negative outside influences. This is a great picture of the role of leadership. The leader is often called upon to be the face of the organization and deal with complaints, negative conflicts, angry confrontations, and points of accountability. If and when attacks or misunderstandings occur, the leader is able to cushion the organization or the team or an individual by intervening with negotiation, counseling, and wisdom. The leader can quiet the situation, bring peace without involving the entire team. The leader is often a buffer to the disgruntled, a pillow that can catch the angry words of others, a voice of reason in emotional angst.

#2. The nucleoplasm preserves the common shape of the nucleus. This is another avenue of protection. The nucleoplasm enables the stability of the shape of the cell. In essence it assists in maintaining the integrity of the cell itself. Effective leaders have learned how not to get bent out of shape, but to be flexible enough to maintain the consistency and reliability of the organization. As the leader moves and shifts within the organization and provides attention where areas are being stretched and challenged, the leader is able to maintain the integrity of the organization. 

#3. The nucleoplasm helps sustain the form and formation of the nucleus. The nucleoplasm contains many enzymes which are essential for the strength of the DNA.  The leader is one of the keys to keeping the entire organization on mission. The leader must strive to sustain the basic purpose (the why do we exist question) of the organization. The identity of the team must never be in doubt as the leader continually communicates the reason for its existence, the imperative of its mission, the importance of its goals. So, the leader must live, breath, and bleed the DNA of the organization. 

#4 Nucleoplasm plays a significant role in the transportation of materials that are essential to cell metabolism and function. An organization leader holds the critical responsibility to see that the organization has all the essentials needed to maintain and grow in the accomplishment of its mission and vision. Emotional (team moral), physical (team resources and materials), spiritual (team culture), and financial needs (team budget) must be evaluated and maintained if effectiveness is to be anticipated. The best leaders see the big picture in each one of the areas and “transports the materials” needed to the nucleus of the organization.

I know I could have just used the water balloon as the metaphor, but it didn’t sound as intellectual and it didn’t start with the letter “N.” On a more serious note: there are some interesting scientific elements of nucleoplasm that a water balloon just does not possess.

Photos: Water Balloons – Just be happy!: Water Balloons (justbehappylife.com); Nucleoplasm – nucleus.jpg (500×485) (bp.blogspot.com)         

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