We Work With Animals

by Sharmi Duncan

Have you ever had a duck as an employee?

You know you have. You know, that guy or gal who waddles around the office gibbering like Donald Duck. Think about how Donald acts. He always has something to say, and he’s always right. He’s happy and jolly until something comes along and spoils his day. And at times, he’s a bit of a bully.

As animator Fred Spencer once wrote, “The Duck gets a big kick out of imposing on other people or annoying them, but he immediately loses his temper when the tables are turned. In other words, he can dish it out, but he can't take it.”

Sound like anyone in your office?

Have you ever worked with a turtle perhaps? Turtles are the ones who move slower than molasses. Drr da drr. Drr da drr. They may get the job done, but by the time they reach the finish line, hell, who knows how long a task or project has taken? If you’re on a tight deadline, then don’t go to the turtle. But if you have time and patience, and want the job done right, the turtle is your man.

As a manager, you will have all types of animals working for you at one time or another. And once you know the animals in your kingdom, you know what to expect—how to manage them, how to work with them, whom to keep your eye on, whom you can trust, etc.

The Rabbit:  works fast. Rabbits may take some shortcuts, but they complete tasks and projects quickly. They focus on getting stuff done as quickly as possible and aren’t very detail-oriented. If you have a project that must get done and accuracy/perfection isn’t required, then lean on the rabbit. Progress over perfection.

The Parrot. A conversation with the parrot isn’t a conversation at all. You talk. You give direction. A parrot usually repeats back to you exactly what you say to her. Parrots use your words when talking with others. If you want a seed planted, start with the parrot. She’ll record what you say and repeat it verbatim to someone else. Be careful, though, because parrots may also take credit for your ideas.

The Hen and The Cock. The hens, they cluck, cluck, cluck all day long. When something goes wrong, they don’t stop clucking about it. If you work with a lot of women, you are probably familiar with this type.

Then there is the Cock—Mr. Macho. He takes pride in his work. He knows what he’s doing; just ask him. Then you see his work, and it's awful. And don’t think Cocks are only men. There are women Cocks too (not to be confused with the Hens).

The Snake. Watch out for the snake. He’s sly. His motives may be unknown, but he slithers through the office with his own agenda. Snakes are vindictive and cannot be trusted. Keep snakes close. Don’t trust the snake.

Then there is you. The manager. What type of animal are you?

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