I hate Bermuda grass. Why? It spreads uncontrolled into our mulch and hides the underground nests of fire ants. How many stings did I get? Twenty-six! Did they hurt? Yes! Did I get revenge? Yes! (Using Bonide MAX.) And while I was at it, I poured out my wrath on an underground nest of yellow jackets before they stung me.
Organizations have underground nests that can sting as well—nests that have a different mission…or personal agendas…or are only concerned about their self-interests. As the leader, you cannot let these nests grow and thrive. In fact, you need to pour Bonide MAX on them ASAP or you will get stung and the organization hurt.
First, make sure the underground nest doesn’t exist because of your ineffective leadership. Sometimes nests develop because the workers are simply trying to survive and have no confidence in the leader to actually lead them. So they choose a queen to follow and go underground as a survival mechanism. As in all things, always start with self-examination. Not sure if you’re the problem? Ask someone who will tell you the truth.
Second, you have to get rid of the queen. All fire ant and yellow jacket nests have a queen at the center of everything. Your organizational underground nest will have one too. Whatever you have to do, get rid of the queen! Until you do, the nest will grow in size and continue to buzz around stinging everyone that is not part of the nest.
Third, you need the workers, so try to eradicate the nest without eradicating all the workers. Give them a reason to choose to follow you instead of the queen. Being a leader instead of boss is a good way to start.
Enough fire ants stings can be fatal to small animals. Underground nests in your organization can be fatal too. So ignore them at your and the organization’s peril.
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"The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present."
Kouzes & Posner