Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Is Stinging in Your Nature?

(Photo credit: Christy Pack)
"To be effective, leaders must earn the trust of others."
Trust is a "firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something." Trust, however, is not something that is easily given. In fact, the element of fear can be a barrier to building trust in a relationship.

In this video clip, Jody (played by Forest Whitaker) shares the story of the frog and the scorpion with his captor Fergus (Stephen Rea). We challenge you to watch this clip or read the story below and discuss it with your team.

The Frog and the Scorpion

Once upon a time there was a frog. One day, Frog was sitting by a river bank when along came a Scorpion. 

“Hello brother Frog,” said Scorpion. “I wonder if you might be so kind as to give me a ride across the river on your back.” 

Frog knew that Scorpion could not swim. 

“I don't think that's a good idea,” said Frog. “You have a deadly sting. You might kill me.” 

“But why would I do that?” replied Scorpion. “If I stung you, we would both die.” 

“Mmm,” thought Frog. “That makes sense.” 

“Alright Scorpion, jump onto my back and I will give you a ride across the river,” he said. 

So Scorpion jumped onto Frog's back and Frog began to swim across the river. But halfway across, Scorpion took his deadly sting and stuck it into Frog's back. And as the poison filled Frog's body his arms began to stiffen and they both began to sink. “Why?” gasped Frog in despair. 

“Sorry Frog,” said Scorpion. “It's my nature.” 

And Frog and Scorpion died.

(Fable - this version reprinted from www.storymuseum.org.uk)

Leaders start by building a foundation of trust in teams. Trust is the underpinning of all cohesive teams; without it, teams are merely collections of individuals that can never hope to achieve synergy.

Recognizing that communication is the key to building trust, we communicate openly with teams and make sure we convey the essence of our values, mission, and vision. In doing so, we also communicate information about ourselves because our teams must, first and foremost, trust us.
(Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 53)

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Digging a Little Deeper
  • Watch the scorpion and frog clip from The Crying Game
    • Why did Jody tell Fergus this story? What did he surmise about Fergus' character?
    • Have you been "stung" by someone you trusted? Have you stung someone who trusted you? Respectfully discuss the situations and how you overcame the action.
    • Because we have something in our nature (like stinging), should we show it to others? Are we being authentic?
    • Is trust earned or given?
  • Download a copy of Leading in the Wildland Fire Service
    • Highlight the words "trust" and "fear" in the publication.
      • Discuss how can fear affect team building and relationships?
      • How can you establish a culture of trust with your team?
  • Watch Steven Colbert Comedy Channel interview with social psychologist Jonathan Haidt on the normal human condition. (Disclaimer: this video is in no way a political or religious endorsement.
  • Reflect upon how you interact with others. 
  • Have your team discuss the values of the "hive" versus personal values.
  • Take a moment to recalibrate your moral compass, if necessary.

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