According to Ned Stark, when the snow falls and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. That quote essentially sums up wolf leadership and wolf pack teamwork.
We like to say that the same is true of business: when the proverbial hammer drops and sh*t hits the fan, a team that works cohesively and respectfully together will survive, while a team that hasn’t invested in relationship-building will ultimately face more trouble.
Team building is important for your company; there’s no doubt of that. There’s also no doubt that wolves (both the shape-shifting Game of Thrones kind and the normal, real-world kind) know how to build great teams.
So today, we’re taking a walk on the wild side and looking to our furry, four-legged pals for leadership lessons from a wolfpack.
Wolf Leadership and Wolf Teamwork Lesson #1: It’s Better To Work Together Than Apart
In 2017, researchers at the Wolf Science Center at the University of Vienna used a classic behavior test to compare the teamwork capabilities of wolves and dogs.
And, sorry to disappoint, dog-lovers, but the wolves kicked *ss.
Here’s how the test worked: two animals had to pull ropes attached to different ends of a tray to get a food treat. The trick was that the animals had to pull the ropes at the same time to get the treat.
Only one of eight dog pairs figured out how to get the food.
Five of seven wolf pairs, on the other hand, succeeded.
What’s the lesson here?
You can always accomplish more as part of a team than by yourself. Working with your team is key to making sure your company’s projects are completed in a timely and efficient manner.
Wolf Leadership and Wolf Teamwork Lesson #2: Communication Is Key
You probably know that wolves howl, right? But did you know that wolves also have a complex communication system that’s key to their pack dynamics?
Wolves are constantly communicating with each other, whether through their haunting howls or simply by using body language. A tail between the legs can indicate submission or fear, while bared teeth can indicate aggression.
Howls can help wolves speak to each other over long distances, while short barks and snaps at close range can also communicate wants and needs.
While our image of wolves may be that of silent predators running through the snow, wolves are actually extremely vocal, and their packs are more successful because of their communication.
So, the next time there’s a problem at work: speak up.
Wolf Leadership and Wolf Teamwork Lesson #3: Respect the Systems
Wolf packs have strict hierarchies and responsibilities based on those hierarchies. The alpha male and female are kind of like the mom and dad of each pack, and they’re responsible for producing all the (adorable) little wolf pups. Other members of the pack may have responsibilities for securing food or protecting the pack.
Each wolf knows his or her place, and sticks to his or her responsibilities. This helps the wolfpack function cohesively.
At the workplace, it’s important to respect the systems that are in place. In all likelihood, those systems are there for a reason: to make your work more effective and efficient.
However, if you feel like the systems aren’t doing their job, it’s equally important to speak up! There’s often jostling for “leadership” within a wolf pack, particularly if a particular wolf has been weakened in some way. You can always make changes in your office, but it’s important to show your respect for your position and your team by following the systems that are in place.
Wolf Leadership and Wolf Teamwork Lesson #4: Your Pack Is Key to Thriving in Tough Environments
Wolves live in some really harsh environments, both in Westeros and the real world.
Without working as a wolfpack, it would be much harder for wolves to survive. They rely on each other for everything from help hunting to warmth during the cold nights. A pack of wolves has a much greater chance of bringing down a sizable kill than a lone wolf. That’s wolf teamwork at the heart of nature.
The same is true of your workplace: during hard times, your team will play a key role in helping you get through the challenges. If a crisis arises at work, it’s often easier and more efficient for multiple people to work at solving the problem, rather than just one.
Wolf Leadership and Wolf Teamwork Lesson #5: The Team That Plays Together, Stays Together
Wolves don’t just hunt and sleep together: they play together, too! (And yes, it’s adorable.)
Wolves know that the team that plays together, stays together. It’s important to bond with and genuinely like your team. Liking your team will make the tough times easier to get through.
And other animals do team building too, including humans. That’s why we specialize in creating fun, engaging team building events: we want you to get to know and like your team, so that whether you’re trying to work together to find a food treat or solve a last-minute clients’ crisis, you’ll have the strong bonds and effective communication skills you need to thrive.