From Moose and Earwig…a Corporate Leadership Message

Your corporate leaders can either be like a ‘Moose’ or like an ‘Earwig’.  Both leadership styles are equally bad, need correction and hence the corporate must quickly identify such leaders and appropriate corrective action also must be initiated. 


Earwig is an insect of the order Dermaptera.  Unlike all other insects, earwigs interestingly show an extraordinary parental (maternal) care.  Their parental care starts from caring the eggs, nymphs and the young ones even up to their second molt.   In fact, the maternal care of earwigs is too much and too long and not only such characteristic is strange among insects but also such care is not required.  


Some corporate leaders would certainly exhibit such leadership traits.  They nurse and nurture their teammates/subordinates from the day they join the organization till they retire almost like how an earwig care its young ones.   Such care and attention are really not required.   The some evolutionary reasons may warrant the earwigs to show such longstanding maternal care towards their young ones but definitely such leaders will only spoil the people in corporate through such display of leadership.


In corporate, people should be mentored and empowered. Further, they should be enabled to independently take right decisions as well.  Caring and nursing should be limited to quickly make them independent.   But unfortunately the earwig leaders do the contrary and want their people to be always dependent on them.


Another extreme leadership style of some people also can be seen in corporate and that is called ‘moos leaders’.  Moose is a species of large sized deer with very aggressive behaviour, lives in northern parts of US.   The parental care is very unique in this group of animal.  Like any other mammal, the moose mother also care and guard her calf.  But unfortunately, such care is given only until she is ready to deliver her next calf.  Prior to the delivery of her next calf, she would chase away the existing calf, irrespective of however precarious the calf may be.  The unfortunate calf has to somehow fend itself and be successful or die at the hands of its predators. 


The parental care is limited, short lived and would end abruptly when the mother is ready to give birth to a new calf. 


Exactly like moose, many corporate leaders also behave in the organization.  They mentor and guide people as long as a new person joins the team and the leader would suddenly shift the total care towards the new member by leaving others in the team in oblivion or in lurch. 


The creation of nature, both the earwig and the moose conveys two important leadership dimensions of people in corporate.   Too much of care is not required.  At the same time, when a new responsibility is given, the leaders shouldn’t shun/abandon their existing responsibility also.       


Nature would have created both these animals with such uniqueness may be due to some compelling evolutionary reasons.  That is biology.  But nature also wants such message to reach the modern corporate in order to help the HR function and the corporate leaders to guide and correct the people if they ever behave like a moose or an earwig.  


Only when the corporate leaders and the HR function learn about nature and different species of plants and animals, a new thread of leadership can be learned. 


Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai   Image


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