Leadership and Management

The fox and scorpion

Sometimes the people you deal with remind me of the tale of the fox and the scorpion. Sometimes one is served a harsh reminder of this tale. I have built my professional approach, ethos and indeed the schools I run on trust and relationships. In fact, I have written several articles and blogs on this theme. But as with all things, exceptions prove the rule.

Sometimes the people you deal with remind me of the tale of the fox and the scorpion.

So the story goes: a fox and a scorpion both need to cross a river. The scorpion asks the fox for a ride on its back as it cannot swim. The fox refuses saying “no you’ll sting me”. The scorpion replies that it wouldn’t, as it would damage the both of them.

The fox agrees and allows the scorpion to ride on it’s back. Half way across the river the scorpion stings the fox. As the poison takes effect on the fox and it starts to sink it asks the scorpion, “Why did you sting me, now we are both going to die?”

The scorpion replies, “I couldn’t help myself, it’s in my nature”.

Sometimes one is served a harsh reminder of this tale. I have built my professional approach, ethos and indeed the schools I run on trust and relationships. In fact, I have written several articles and blogs on this theme.

Without ever wishing to dilute that approach, events sometimes remind me that despite all the unquestioned requests; all the extras that you do for others; all the effort placed in going the extra mile to make things work for other people…, sometimes it just doesn’t work. It doesn’t always yield the result of willingness, loyalty, trust and happiness in others. All the ‘credit’ in the bank of long lists of things you’ve done to help others sometimes counts for nothing.

The text books will tell you to trust, build relationships, go the extra mile for others. It too is my instinct. My desire. It is what I want to do because to me it is the right thing to do.

But as with all things, exceptions prove the rule. And sometimes, no matter what, the true nature of people will eventually show and sometimes that can hurt. It is the price, albeit a small one, to pay for putting people first.

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