I recently read about an Egyptian bird known as the Egyptian Plover. This feathered crocodile cleaner hops right into the open mouth of the Nile crocodile to remove parasites, which collect in the crocodile’s mouth. The big animal sits quietly as the little bird goes about its business.
After the job is done, whether the crocodile is hungry or not, the bird always leaves unscathed. Remember, it is in the crocodile’s nature to eat birds and other animals, yet this bird is allowed to fly away.
The little bird serves a useful purpose. The alligator knows this and as a result will not eat the bird. How could such diverse animals, which normally have a predator-victim relationship, become partners in a cleanup operation?
Why do some humans have a predator-victim relationship with others? Why should new employees fear being “eaten alive” by the same employees who should welcome the assistance and presence of additional help?
In the workplace, we often see the predator-victim phenomena at work. A new employee is hired to do a job, which may help the other employees. The new employee may be very trusting and believe that he or she is there to serve a useful purpose (and to get something out the relationship as well). Before long, an older employee bites down and swallows the “new bird” simply because he or she can or because the older employee feels threatened.
The synergistic connection between the crocodile and the bird described in the first paragraph should and can exist between new employees and those who have been around longer. However, for some people the temptation to destroy the little bird is too great.
When you next engage in criticism and negative comments about a new employee, stop and ask yourself (or others) what is driving your behavior. Ponder why there is a need to criticize someone for not being able to do the job immediately and without error. Remember how it was for you when you started a new job.
If a hungry crocodile can refrain from eating a little bird that is serving a useful purpose, so can we refrain from negatively “nibbling away” at a new co-worker.
Affirmation for the Week:
“I am aware of the synergistic connections all around me and I do my part to actively participate in them with a positive, helpful attitude.”
Have a synergistic week!