Nosey Rhino loves talking sheep. He talks sheep about everyone and everything. For Nosey Rhino, analogies clarify roles to help understand how humans position themselves among others. Nosey Rhino loves to judge people because they are the most interesting animals. He maintains a curious perspective on people and the crazy things they do. Let’s take a look.
We can all agree that different roles exist among human experience. It does not mean that these three roles are exhaustive in the sense that no others exist. Others exist; however, for the purpose of this work, Nosey Rhino says let’s discuss three human analogies. In other words, just roll with it. You will get the point.
The wolf represents the predator among humans. Yes, there are wolves among us. This predator is the opportunist for power, mating, or any urge he feels. Just like wolves in the wild, if he can “take” a kill as opposed to making a kill, life is easier for the wolf. Make no mistake. The wolf is still a stone-cold killer. Life means survival (at any cost) for the wolf. Never deny the existence of wolves in humanity because it is cruelly unrealistic. Wolves are real.
Some might say the wolf is an evil (or insensitive) perspective on humanity, but let’s put that aside for a moment. Nosey Rhino does not clarify why wolves are the way they are. If you are an easy target for the wolf, she will make you her victim. Wolves survive by taking lives or anything valuable. Wolves work in small tactical groups to survive, take care of young, and procreate. Wolves believe they are meant to take advantage of sheep. A wolf doesn’t concern herself with the opinions of sheep.
Sheep are plentiful. They are guided and protected their entire lives. Sheep provide resources (in society) to others and are essential to the ecosystem of humanity. Sheep rarely harm others and live on what is in front of them. They follow a predictable path. Sheep need protection and stand little chance against the wolves of society. They can barely protect themselves from each other. Sheep hide in large numbers to survive; hoping they are not the next opportunity for the wolf. Sheep are the ideal prey for wolves because they simply want to be left alone and be content in life.
Sheepdogs are bred to protect. Descendants of the wolf themselves, they are similar (to wolves) yet somehow different. Nosey Rhino says sheepdogs have a different purpose in life. They are the protectors. Something instinctive compels them to sacrifice their own safety to protect sheep. The willingness to endure harm for the sake of others makes sheepdogs exceptional. They will die to protect sheep. Some might call them heroes; however, they are merely following an innate urge to preserve life. They stay aware and maintain a defensive trigger to protect sheep.
Are you the taker in life – the wolf? Are you the protector in life – the sheepdog? Are you harmless in life – the sheep? These are challenging questions. Before you answer, remember you are talking sheep to yourself. You either know or you are in denial. Nosey Rhino is horning his big snout into something very personal and it isn’t very comfortable.
Nosey Rhino thinks sheepdogs are interesting. Why do they endure risk for the sake of others? Why do they run toward danger while others run away? Sheepdogs run into a burning building to save a life. They run into a school to confront an armed gunman. They travel to foreign lands and often endure tremendous suffering for something larger than themselves. Somehow, they seem to have a higher calling; a purpose in life that others do not. Nosey Rhino wonders why sheep don’t like sheepdogs. Well, they look somewhat like a wolf. They have big teeth! They growl and bite. Instinctively, the sheep know the sheepdog can devour them just like the wolf.
Nosey Rhino thinks most humans are sheep. They are content to eat, crap, and make more sheep. They contribute to society and live simple, yet important lives. He observes the wolves who survive off the sheep, and he is totally bewildered by the sheepdogs willing to die for the sheep. Why does the sheepdog protect while being undervalued and underappreciated by the sheep? It’s crazy.
Nosey Rhino determined something profound. Sheepdogs seek neither appreciation nor adoration from sheep. Their behavior is different because they have a unique motivation. Sheepdogs have an intrinsic motivation to protect. The need comes from deep inside. They serve to quench an internal thirst.
How do these three archetypes appear in the workplace? Can we theoretically transfer this thinking to an organization? Are there wolves at work? Wolves are coworkers who place their own importance over everyone else on the team. Nosey Rhino says wolves (at work) will literally and metaphorically step on anyone to achieve objectives. They will make your ideas look bad in order to contrast their own work as good. Wolves are individual contributors and rarely function well on a team unless they are pack hunting sheep. The lone wolf is the highly-capable, individual contributor who thinks his work is far more essential (like that word?) than anyone or anything in the business. They do not accept feedback and are insulted by anything that threatens their activity.
Sheep, on the other hand, are most plentiful at work. They come to work and follow the path dictated by policy and never question things. They keep their heads down and graze on the grass (work) in front of them. Nosey Rhino says they are timid creatures and easily fall victim to wolves. Sheep do not complain to management. In large businesses, they remain anonymous among other sheep.
Sheepdogs are often informal leaders at work. They speak up for others and work with management to make life better for the sheep. Sheepdogs use words like “we have a problem” or “there is an issue with” when talking to decision-makers. You find sheepdogs protecting sheep from wolves at work when they encounter bullying or injustice. Nosey Rhino believes sheepdogs speak when others are silent even when the wolf has the power to harm their job or career.
Nosey Rhino is tired of talking sheep. He believes you get the point by now. Are you a wolf? Are you a sheep? Are you a wolf in sheep’s clothing? The world needs more sheepdogs. They are far too rare. Who else will confront sheepy attitudes, sheepy companies, and sheepy situations? Let’s hear it for the sheepdogs! Next time you encounter one, rub that belly. Just kidding, don’t do that.