They know how to develop corporate leaders... a HR message from Koalas

Sep 6 13:58 2013 Ranganathan Print This Article

The corporate leaders must learn the important aspect of developing leaders and the Koalas...

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Some hard grinding are inevitable for some people in the corporate before they are taken to the next level of leadership or bigger leadership responsibilities are given.    The corporate should learn the process of ‘leadership grinding’ from the marsupial animal – Koala.  Koala is an arboreal mammal,Guest Posting native to Australia.  The interesting aspect of this mammal is its food habits.  Koalas are extraordinarily unique in their food preference and they almost exclusively thrive on the leaves of Eucalyptus tree as their main diet.


The leaves of Eucalyptus tree are hard to digest.  Scientists across the globe have always wondered how Koalas survive by eating such leaves.  The point is not about Koalas eating the leaves of Eucalyptus.  Definitely to digest the leaves, Koalas have certain specialized microbes in their stomach.  With the help of these microbes only, it is believed that the animal could easily digest the leaves.


When they deliver the pups, like any other mammal, they feed them with breast milk.  That is how all mammals engage in rearing the young ones.  Once the weaning period is over, the mother Koala resorts to a most weird thing. She feeds the young ones with her ‘poops’ (fecal material).  This is done to ensure that the species of bacteria essential to digest the hard Eucalyptus leaves enter the gut of the babies so that when they shift from mothers milk to eucalyptus leaves, able to digest them easily. 


If we look at the behaviour of the mother Koala feeding the young ones with her poops in isolation, may sound funny and unacceptable.  But one has to look at the ‘intent’ and the ‘essential management insight’.  Before shifting people from one level to another, they have to be prepared first and only then they can do better in the new role. 


The corporate leaders and the HR function must study the behaviour of Koalas and must learn the right management insight.  Before expecting different leadership responses from people after promoting them to the next level, they have to be adequately prepared and developed is the message, the Koalas have to tell to the corporate.  


Feeding the young ones with the ‘poops’ by none other than the mother may sound strange and funny.  But never get lost in the ‘fun’ but understand the inner meaning. 


Most corporate leaders develop strong expectations from people after giving the promotion. More often, the promoted employees only were happy and not the leadership as they find no difference in their leadership style of the promoted employees.  It is not due to the incapability of the people who were promoted but definitely due to the failure of the HR function to understand about how to develop them.  Learn from the Koalas and be successful.

 Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

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Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

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