Why the siblings of some birds fight ruthlessly while their parents and many other adult animals remain calm and peaceful in animal kingdom? Such behaviour is called ‘fratricidal’ in biology (fight and killing among siblings).
The baby birds (hatchling/nestling) of golden eagle, snowy egret, great spotted cuckoo etc., for example strongly exhibits ‘fratricidal’ behaviour, where the stronger chicks kill the weaker ones. Strangely, the stronger ones attack, sideline and sometime even kill their weaker siblings. They do so only to compete for food and to ensure their chance of survival in the best possible way.
The question is why such fight exists only among the nestling birds (between siblings) and not among the adult birds? If the corporate HR function knows the answer, they have answer for almost all HR problems in the corporate.
The nestling birds have the challenge to grow healthy and become an adult bird soon otherwise they might fall to predation by many predatory animals. Only when they get good food, both in terms of quality and quantity, can became strong and healthy. Therefore they have to compete rudely and even rudimentarily. Whereas, for the adult birds, such fight is unwarranted, will be costly and also can be dangerous.
It is interesting to note that in most corporate, the people in top management behave like an adult golden eagle or snowy egret or spotted cuckoo. Further, they claim that they are ‘very’ matured, cultured and vision centric and that is why they do not fight like their nestling chicks. On the contrary, the people at manager and below the manager level easily resort to fights because they lack leadership quality and are not matured as like the people in the top management level. But the truth is something different.
The fighting temptation and tendency among people in the lower rank and file is only due to their acute need for survival. Only when they fight, they get better attention, care and food and hence can grow. Whereas the people in the top management are like an adult bird and hence cannot afford to fight. It is not due to their maturity, leadership quality or vision they don’t fight but purely and only due to the possible ill effects of such fight.
From the theory of ‘fratricidal’ behaviour seen among some birds, only the above management message, the corporate and its HR function must derive and learn. Because someone is fighting in the corporate, never conclude that they are not matured and lack leadership quality. Similarly, the people in top management when appear calm and composed, does not mean they are matured, posses high leadership acumen and have vision as well.
Sometime the fight becomes necessary and part of ones survival. Similarly, avoiding fight also can become necessary for survival for some. This distinction only the corporate must learn. If they ever miss this grate management insight from the ‘fratricidal’ behaviour of some birds, instead of making right interpretation and right understanding, only wrong conclusion become the end product. Such wrong conclusions will only adversely affect the corporate culture.
Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai
Most people would have seen the wall lizards, when threatened/frightened, drop its tail and quietly escapes from the scene. The fast movement of the detached tail catches the undue attention of the predator while the lizard swiftly moves away. The lizard, before dropping its tail, appears to know the ‘limited intelligence’ of the predator as anything that makes ‘noise or movement’ only would attract the predators in general.
Similarly, in corporate also, the people who make ‘noise and movement’ (those who talk a lot, speak about their work than what really they have achieved etc., ) are the one catches the attention/recognition from the bosses and not the one who are really smart, focused and achievement oriented.
Like how the predatory animals of wall lizard keep focusing on the broken tail to be the lizard, most corporate bosses also judge and conclude the people who often make noise about their work and frequently interact with the bosses as the real performers.
Whereas, the real performers generally remain calm and subtle, makes less noise but really focusing on their goal. In fact they achieve also. The management message what the wall lizard conveys is that its predators and most people in corporate are no way different as both of them easily get lost their goal with ‘someone’ who makes noise and bubbles. The lizard, certainly wants only that as only then it can escape. But the corporate people by doing so only miss to recognize the talented people. Further they also compare the talented people with the people who make bubbles in the corporate.
The message is not about recognizing the people who make bubbles in corporate but never miss to understand the real performers. If the predators were ever wise and smart, no wall lizard would lose its tail and attempts to detract them. Similarly, if the corporate people start behaving smartly, no inefficient person would ever resort to the trick of talking about their work than what they have really achieved.
The process of a wall lizard cutting off its tail is called ‘autotomy’. Even in this process of autotomy, lizards employ only a management approach which every corporate needs to learn. It knows the art of how to fool the predators. But the difference is, some people in corporate fool themselves.
Learn to understand the meaning of silence as most focused people follow the approach of silence than making noise. Noise and fury will only distract one from the focus is what the corporate has to learn from the autotomy of wall lizard.
It is worth losing than having, if it saves the life. This is also one of the finest management messages/approaches, the nature shares with the corporate. The nature is not simply shares the above message as an advice or theory but it also gives the best example for one to learn and accept. The African spiny mouse, a species of rodent is appeared to have created by nature only by following the above tenet.
Skin of the African spiny mouse is very thin and hence it easily gets breaks or peeled off with the least tension, especially when a predator catches the animal. Interestingly, the entire skin with the hair follicles regenerates in a few days. Because of the weak and easily breakable skin, the animal escapes from the predator. Naturally the predator is left with a piece of skin while the animal would have moved to a safe place.
The message is that never bother too much about what you lose but recognize what you gain ultimately by loosing something. For the African spiny mouse, saving its life assumes importance than loosing a piece of skin. Hence the evolution would have favoured the animal with very lose and weak skin that breaks easily with least tension. The regenerating capacity of the skin of African spiny mouse also has attracted the scientists of evolutionary biology and skin biology in equal measure.
In corporate, the people must adopt the approach of an African spiny mouse while conducting business. The larger interest and the goal only should drive and kindle people in corporate and they should never compromise the larger interest and goal to some petty loses. But unfortunately, most people in corporate give enormous value to ‘petty’ things and run after it. They grossly miss the larger interest, either of their own or of the corporate.
Most corporate bosses often fall prey to such petty leadership style. They give more importance to the ‘yours obediently behaviour’ of their subordinates than their work acumen, intelligence, commitment and other meritorious qualities. A simple incidence of the subordinates has not greeted the boss become an issue in some corporate. Such subordinates, however talented they might be, are not liked by the bosses in general as the ego becomes everything.
The subordinates also must understand the fact that if their bosses likes only petty things like ‘yours obediently’ behaviour from the subordinates means, learn to respect the same to some extend, however unfortunate it may be.
The message is that people should be driven only by the larger interest/goal in life and trivial things should never bother them. They should be like how an African spiny mouse that lose its skin to save its life.
Why the embryos of sharks kill/cannibalize their own siblings in the mother’s womb? Are the sharks by birth, very cruel and heartless? Why they have to resort to cannibalism at such a young age? Don’t they have anything to eat in the womb of their mother?
Should we understand the above rare/unique behaviour of the embryo sharks from the scientific angle or from an emotional angle? Is there any special management message, the corporate has to learn from the above?
The management message, embryos of the shark conveys is that if one has to become the best, one has to struggle and nature offers everything ‘for the best’ for one, to become the best. It is the responsibility of every one to become the best. The effort to become so, resides in every second and there is no special/auspicious time to start.
Unlike most animals, the female shark mates with multiple males and also fertilizes the embryos of different husbands. Definitely, some are born to the weak males and some to the stronger ones. The embryos that are produced of strong males cannibalize the embryos of the weaker males. The ‘power and wisdom’ necessary for the embryos of the stronger males to recognize the embryos of the weaker males, nature has provided to them. That is what nature can offer. For the best, nature has offered its best. But to be the best, only the embryo of the stronger male has to establish and prove.
In every corporate, the opportunity ‘for the best’ to every individual employee pre-exist. It is the primary and fundamental responsibility of everyone in the corporate to recognize the existence of the best opportunity and must become the best.
Complaining or grieving has little scope in ones growth. Similarly the best is not conferred by anyone to anyone but it has to be achieved or attained. As soon as the embryo of the shark hatches out from the egg, quickly it learns this management approach and becomes the best.
To become the best, one need to recognize the opportunity and must do the needful. Strength to become the best is always there in every one and the opportunity to become the best also pre-exist. Besides knowing, one has to work hard.
Unfortunately, the people in most corporate seldom recognize the above mystical truth of nature. They always wait for the opportunity or blame the fate. The effort to become the best start from the very second is the strongest management message the embryos of the shark communicates. They never wait for some more time. They sense the opportunity and recognize the innate strength within and become so.
The wonder of nature is profound and prolific and hence the corporate leaders have a lot to learn from the nature. Be the best, already the best is there for you.
Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai
When you are not capable, your people will never prefer to be as incapable as you, and they may leave you is the message the young European white stork conveys to the corporate leaders. Many corporate suffer from attrition (people resigning from the job) and joining other companies. It is not just the better salary offered by other companies that makes people to leave the organization. That is how most HR love to describe and define.
Scientific studies have proved that the chicks of European white stork dessert its parents and join other near by colonies of storks. They do so only when they find their parents to be poor predators, hunters and are not capable of offering the best food to them. Perhaps the young chicks do not want to be with such parents as they may not learn or develop the required competencies to be successful in future.
Success not only demands sacrifice, it also requires right choice. The young European white storks have to dessert or abandon their parents as from them they learn only ‘weak approaches’ or ‘hunting techniques’. To learn the right lessons, they have to join other colonies and hence they leave their parents at young age. When the question of future versus sentiments/affection is posed before them, perhaps, the European white stork prefers the former than the later.
The people in corporate must audit the fact that whether the corporate they work has sufficient opportunity to develop their talents and capabilities. The people with whom they work, associate and report to are whether capable or not, also they must validate. If the bosses are incapable, only incapability, the subordinates will pick up from such bosses.
Even in animal world, no one wants to be incapable and incompetent. In order to be so, they make wises choices barring sentiments and affections.
The corporate people must learn their management lesson from the young European white storks otherwise they will have to remain incompetent and incapable in the same organization. It is not the parental care, parental teaching is more important for the young European white storks. When they find such learning scope is limited from their parents, they leave them and join other colonies.
But many people in corporate give value and importance only to safety and job security. When one succumbs to such feelings or fear, the choices become limited. The message is that be like a young European white stork and have your choice wise and future centric. People should never dilly dally between sentiments and ones capability. Only when one learns to operate from outside the premises of sentiments, the choice will be wise and right is the message the European white stork conveys to corporate.
Why a cow can be lead to climb up the staircase and not to climb down? Is it the legs of a cow are not strong enough to support the animal to climb down? If so, how it helps to climb up the stair case? To climb up or climb down, generally one need more strength?
To climb up a staircase, the strength of the legs is reasonably sufficient and hence a cow could do so. But to climb down, besides strength, flexibility of the legs is essential and such flexibility, the legs of a cow is lacking and that is why they struggle to climb down a staircase.
That is why most of the strong leaders in corporate fail to lead their team to success despite they being ‘strong and capable’. They lack flexibility. Ones strength either in their knowledge or intelligence will definitely take them to success. But to go down to people, understand them and guide them, it is not just the strength, flexibility is necessary.
Interestingly the people in the team may hold great respect for such strong leaders. But despite people having respects and sincerity on such strong leaders, the leaders cannot lead or guide the people to success. It is like how the strong legs help a cow only to climb up the staircase and how the same strong legs because they lack flexibility, doesn’t help the same cow to climb down the staircase, so are some corporate leaders.
To move up is reasonably a well focused activity. If the effort and strength meets, the goal can be easily achieved. But to climb down, effort, strength and besides that balance is also needed. To balance, definitely flexibility is essential.
To balance means, calibrate the extremes and to achieve the same, flexibility is must. The management message of nature through the creation of cow is that the strength when support one to achieve a task, the same strength also may fail if it fails to seek the support of ‘flexibility’ in achieving another task.
Nature sends different management message to the corporate through its every creation. The corporate can learn them better only if they observe and study nature. Management is not a different subject from science as every scientific principle has a management message to learn.
The simple behaviour of a cow when one makes it to climb up a staircase and climb down from it; one can learn a strong leadership insight. When you take pride in your strength, after an achievement, ask whether you are also flexible to be ‘strong’ to achieve further. If not, please learn from the struggle of a cow while climbing down a staircase.