Earlier this month media outlets including USA Today ran a story showing video of one alligator eating another alligator in Horry County, South Carolina.1 The video is an incredible account of one large reptile gobbling up a smaller one. According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, “Alligators will eat almost anything, including each other; they bite and fight to eat, court, defend, or protect their territory.2”
As soon as I watched the video, I thought that alligators are not the only ones who eat their own species. So do humans. Not literally unless you are a cannibal, but figuratively. How often do we chase down, attack, chew on, and then gobble up each other?
This type of behavior is rampant in our society including the workplace, academia, government, religious institutions, athletics, and our homes. What has happened to mature, civil discourse between each other? Too often civility quickly disappears just like the larger gator chewing up the smaller one.
Civility involves respect, politeness, and consideration for others. However, being civil to one another does not mean we have to agree with our individual likes, dislikes, preferences, or beliefs. Is it possible to disagree with someone without attacking, biting, chewing, and gobbling them up?
- Do you lay claim to being an open-minded leader, yet the minute someone disagrees with something you say, you attack them?
- Does your organization allow and embrace honest dissension or do managers and supervisors assault the poor individual who dares to disagree with a decision or policy?
- Have your employees or members of your organization watched the big gators of management consume the smaller gators and now they cower in fear and never say anything that supervisors construe as criticism?
One human “alligator” gobbling up another human “alligator” is not leadership. It is management by fear, intimidation, and coercion. Nothing productive comes from this type of behavior and the “alligators” create an atmosphere that is toxic and hostile.
Are you a leader or a manager? Managers who possess a gator eater mindset will drive employees and customers away. Leaders treat people with respect, and they have the courage and backbone to address problems and issues as they arise in a civil manner thereby creating trust with others. This involves effective communication skills.
How are your communication and leadership skills? On a scale of 1 to 10 (highest) where do you fall? How would others rate you on that same scale? Take a few minutes to explore my website, reach out, and we can discuss how I can help you and your organization or company improve communication abilities.
1 “Viral video shows huge alligator eating a smaller alligator: ‘It’s a freaking dinosaur’,” USA Today, accessed October 12, 2021, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/10/1/alligator-eats-another-alligator-viral-twitter-video/5954787001/
2 “Alligator Biology and Behavior,” Louisiana Department of Wildland & Fisheries, accessed October 12, 2021, https://www.louisianaalligators.com/alligator-biology-and-behavior