The corporate animal – 2 – The Kingfisher

Not only the crocodile impressed me from the wooden enclosure of the bird hide. A tiny kingfisher put on a delightful show and taught me a lot about perseverance.

IMG_0921That little guy sat quietly staring at the water for a v.e.r.y long time, waiting for the ideal opportunity to catch a snack. When he dove head first into the water, he moved so quickly, it was impossible to catch him in the camera’s viewfinder. When he emerged from the water, he had managed to catch a fish almost as large as his feathery little body and definitely too big to chew up.

I was fascinated. For the first 15 minutes after catching his comparatively massive prey he seemed to be trying to get it to die. With his ittty bitty little beak  clenched firmly around the waist of the fish, he repeatedly smashed the his prey against the branch. After five minutes of this violent smashing I was convinced the fish must surely be dead, but the kingfisher didn’t stop.

I turned to the little ladies with the thick reading glasses, binoculars and impressive bird book. They were happy to tell me that he was “pulverizing” his prey. Apparently kingfishers smash their prey not only to kill it, but to liquidise it for easier swallowing.

How to spot the kingfisher in your office:


  • Kingfishers  bite off more than they can chew. This enthusiasm can be endearing, but also quite frustrating. The kingfisher tackles massive tasks and then become overwhelmed. They don’t know the phrase “I need help” as they take on the near impossible.
  • They often put stress on the office ecosystem by appearing to be overworked and desperate. They seem to be struggling with a massive workload and others may be concerned that the task will never get completed or deadlines may be missed. Fortunately they eventually “get it done”.
  • Kingfishers pulverise their projects by paying exhaustingly perfectionistic attention to detail. Sometimes it’s simply overkill. Perfectionism can be a huge time waster!
  • Kingfishers persevere even when the task at hand seems impossible.

How to manage your corporate kingfisher?


  • Protect their enthusiasm and motivation. If you give me the choice to manage someone with great enthusiasm, or someone with great planning skills, I will opt for the enthusiastic employee. Often new employees and trainees play the role of the office kingfisher and all that positive beginners energy can easily be directed in a constructive way.
  • Offer training and development opportunities. Planning and time management can be learnt. Skills are infinitely easier to develop than motivation.
  • Teach the value of “good enough” rather than perfect. An extra week spent making something that is already absolutely fine absolutely perfect, is time wasted. Reward the realistically well done.
  • Give lots of positive feedback for tasks completed! Be sparing with criticism. Criticism crushes enthusiasm.

Finally he swallows!

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Posted in Corporate Animals, Uncategorized
One comment on “The corporate animal – 2 – The Kingfisher
  1. […] The corporate animal – 2 – The Kingfisher August 15, 2013 […]

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