The corporate animal – 4 – The Elephant

This post is dedicated  to Ajabu, an orphan elephant who died recently

This post is dedicated to little Ajabu, an orphan elephant who died recently.

I became an foster mommy to a new born baby elephant that was found alone in the African bush in April this year. It was with sadness that I heard last week that little Ajabu had died. I dedicate this post on corporate animals to elephants.

Ellies inspire respect. Elephants are the largest land animals. We cant help but be impressed by their size. The beauty is that they don’t needlessly use their size in order to dominate. Corporate elephants don’t need to be bullies to get their way. They influence by their charisma.

In the wild elephants are very social and have very distinct relationships. Being part of a group and  being clear about their place is absolutely essential to them. Your ellie at work will care about the interpersonal relationships in the team and most likely be one of your most loyal employees.

Ellies in the wild or captivity often work together to achieve goals they are not able to accomplish on their own.  At work,  elephants are great team players.

So, how to manage the elephants in your office?

elephant herd on the bank of the crocodile river - july 2013

elephant herd on the banks of the crocodile river – july 2013

  • Try not to be frustrated by their slow and deliberate pace. Tasks do get completed – it just takes the ellie a bit longer, because they need to spend some of their time on social interaction in order to be completely happy.
  • Forget about using force or punishment to change the behaviour of your corporate ellie. Elephants respond very well to rewards and positive reinforcement. (And they can be very scary when they are angry!)
  • You may find it frustrating that your ellie spends so much time socializing. Remember that relationships are important to them and use the corporate elephants as part of functional teams.
  • Corporate elephants are keen observers. They gather and remember all kinds of useful information. If you want to find out about the underlying issues in a team, ask the ellie! Elephants never forget.
  • Set very clear roles and goals for ellie employees. They function best when they know where they fit and what is expected of them.
  • In English we use the metaphor “an elephant in the room” to indicate an obvious matter that is being ignored. Remember not to ignore the elephant in the office!

young elephant bull in the kruger national park

My previous few posts have been about some other corporate animals. You can view them here:

  •  The croc:
  •  The kingfisher:
  •  The owls:

As always I welcome hearing from you!

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Posted in Corporate Animals, Uncategorized

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