Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lessons From A Wolf: Team Unity Through Individual Uniqueness

Every wolf has his own voice. Every wolf respects the voice of every other wolf.

There is not a more eerie, mournful, frightening or beautiful sound at night than the musical extravaganza of a howling wolf pack. Campers and hunters who have heard this chorus are filled with wonder but are also usually immobilized by fear. Because of the melody of voices, it often sounds like they are surrounded by scores of wolves.

In truth, there are usually no more than five to eight wolves howling in a pack. The secret is that the wolves are always careful not to duplicate each other. Each wolf assumes a unique pitch, respecting the distinctiveness of the other members of the pack. While the notes may change, as in any beautiful song, one wolf will not copy the pitch of another.
Interestingly, this respect for the individual only emphasizes the true unity of the group. They are one, but they are individuals, each contributing to the organization in their own unique way. Every wolf has his own voice. Every wolf respects the voice of every other wolf.

While no one knows for sure why wolves sing, nature has blessed them with a talent they have perfected through the generations. However, we can make some educated guesses about the phenomenon; they are happy, excited, playful, territorial, and sorrowful. They may be simply reaffirming the spirit and unity of their pack. After all, why do birds sing? Why do we?

An additional reason that wolves may howl is that it provides a time, a place and an event for all social barriers to be broken. Wolves have a strong social order, with each member understanding its role and place. When we observe wolves eating together, we see what seems to be curtsies, bows, whines and hugs—all according to each member’s “place” in the organization. But when wolves howl together, all barriers are dropped, as if to say, “We are one, but we are all unique, so don’t tread on us.” As anyone who has ever listened to this magical howling choir will testify, its message is heard.
The wolf symphony makes the pack appear a much more formidable foe than would be the case if they all sounded the same. No wonder intruders become confused and frightened at what they assume to be an army of wolves.

So, too, are human organizations and teams more formidable when the awareness of each individual is celebrated rather than stifled. Each person assumes his share of responsibility for the group by employing his special talents and strengths. By members expressing their own uniqueness and respecting and encouraging the uniqueness of others, the unit becomes a strong, formidable one.

The Wisdom of Wolves : Nature's Way to Organizational Success(revised)

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