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All Trees are Tall Trees

Uncategorized Feb 28, 2023

All Trees are Tall Trees!

I don’t know about you, but when I heard the word “leader” I did not think of myself. Instead, I looked around to find people more important, more resourceful, more self-confident, and more self-assured than me. Leaders are people like John Maxwell, Brene Brown, Nelson Mandela, Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer, your local pastor, or the CEO of the company you work at. People with big platforms that are known worldwide. In my mind leading is directly correlated with education, importance, fame, fortune, and maybe being a huge social media Rockstar.

But leading actually is just performing to the best of your ability using your unique DNA - your inherent leadership strengths. We all have them. When we change our perception of what a leader is and become open to the idea that people can lead in different ways, a whole new world of leadership development opens up to us! You might actually discover that you ARE indeed a leader!


Take the Pine Tree people as an example. They are reluctant front-runners. They would rather provide support and connect with others. Their leadership strengths lie in having the perspective that one can never have while standing in the lead and facing forward. From their preferred hanging-out-at-the-back position they see who is struggling, who is falling behind, and who is running off in the wrong direction. Their leadership style will therefore be nurturing, encouraging, or supportive. Think of persons like Mother Theresa, Archbishop Demond Tutu, and Mahatma Gandhi. They are moved into leadership positions by necessity, taking on the burden of leadership for the benefit of others and for the greater good.

Pine Tree leaders are not clock-paced; they are people-directed and process-paced. With them, it simply takes as long as it takes the system or the team to get the job done. Their long-term perspective will stretch beyond the here and now, making them the ideal leaders of a project that runs for years on end.

The best gifts of the Pine Tree leader are:

  • The ability to remain true to the main goal, and only that
  • The selection of the perfect person for each job in a streamlined team process
  • Patience until the breakthrough comes
  • A people focus throughout
  • A quiet example of integrity and loyalty regardless of personal gain


Other reluctant leaders are the Boxwood people. Boxwoods are much more at ease as the second-in-command. They dread that the buck stops with them. Their key leadership skills are managerial and organizational. Do you hear TASKS? They dot the i’s and cross the t’s. 

In a group setting, they are seldom the first to take charge. They typically try to get oriented first. In the flow of a task, they may not function like the inspirational visionary types who come up with all the original ideas, but once those ideas are ready to be implemented, they become the leaders of choice. They think of every aspect that needs to be planned, budgeted, scheduled, delegated, measured, and reported. Their ideal leadership tasks are the ones that utilize their affinity for structure, details, excellence, and accuracy.

They also love being well-prepared and putting the finishing touches on a project, so you will see them on the job in time, if not early, and last to leave. That is a great leadership trait and an example to their team. They don’t expect anyone to be more dedicated than they are. They lead best when they can lead a team of highly competent and dedicated people toward a clear and measurable result as a part of the larger organization.


Unlike the introverted Pine Trees and Boxwood people, Palm Tree people do not have any trouble with the “all eyes on them” challenge of leadership. Their greatest leadership asset is undoubtedly their people skills. They can scout out talent, sell the cause or themselves to prospective team members, and recruit a team in their sleep. In fact, they often say things like, “The next thing I knew, there were three people who asked to work with me.” Clearly, they are inspirational and entrepreneurial leaders who kickstart projects, cheer the team on, and enjoy winning with others. 

Palm leaders want to be good to their people in visible and tangible ways. Their need for reward and encouragement means they assume their team needs the same. They show and publicly speak out their appreciation. People love working for them and under them for this reason. 


Lastly, we have what we all know as “natural leaders”. Leadership is to Rose Bush people like water to a fish. We expect to find them there, and outside of it, they’re miserable. They’re born with an invisible inscription on their foreheads, saying “I’m the boss. Can’t you read?!” The parents that say that they are easy to raise are really admitting that they have been trained by their Rose Bushes. “It’s easy” can actually be interpreted as “As long as you do things their way, it is smooth sailing!” 

It is actually very difficult for a Rose Bush person to know when NOT to lead. If a leadership position is available they will step into it. In fact, most Rose Bushes will naturally step into any power vacuum - places and situations where nobody seems to be in charge. I once heard a delightful radio program about parenting in Africa, and a young man said, “My parents never let the authority lie scattered around the house. They knew better than that. I would have taken all of it, so they kept it firmly in their hands.” He sounds like a self-aware Rose Bush who didn’t fall far from the tree.

Their ease with huge responsibility helps them carry the leadership role. They need little encouragement and validation, relying on themselves for drive and direction. If they believe they’re doing a good job - judged by outcomes that matter to them - they are content. They are fast-paced, focused, and task-oriented. If the Rose Bush leader can respect the different giftings within their family or team, they will easily win trust and loyalty. Strong, confident leadership is attractive, after all.

While in a coaching workshop with a newly formed small team, it was so great to see this play out in real-time. In the workshop, we discussed each team member’s  Force Fields (Tall Trees lingo for unique strengths and ideal tasks & situations). This team forms a branch of a bigger company and has the challenge to replicate the corporate identity of the company, but also adapting to a new environment - building a new community, serving existing clients but actively sourcing new ones, and analyzing possible new markets.

And what was evident was how each of them stepped up as a leader in their own right by just using what they already had inside them - doing what came naturally to them. The leader is a Palm-Rose who thrives in this new, unsure, unstable environment. The Box-Pine was handed months of messy admin and had it organized and systemized in days. The Box-Roses implemented structure and organized the workflow and the Rose Bush tackled the challenge to become knowledgeable with an entirely new field of business within the company. Together they are storming and norming to soon become a well-performing team by focusing and relying on each other's strengths.

Do you believe that you can lead? That you can also be a leader?  Why don’t you complete your own Tall Trees Leadership Profile to see what your unique Force Fields are? Or contact a Tall Trees coach near you for a Tall Teams workshop for your team. 

After all “All trees are tall trees!


If you want to discover more about yourself, especially your Forces Within (unique strengths) and Fields of Greatness (the tasks & situations you naturally rock), head on over to and complete your Tall Trees Leadership Profile. We have them in all sizes - for adults, teens, and kids. And even parents, too! 😊

Or consider staying on this website and looking in the STORE for the product "Tall Trees & Me" for an online, in-depth coaching session packed with self-discovery & self-knowledge.



Written by Annatjie van Zyl & Hettie Brittz, 27 February 2023








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