Which one will you become?
Just the other day I was having a talk with a friend and colleague of mine who was going through a transition in leadership. He was concerned with the rumors floating around about his new boss. My advice was “In my experience retail has three type of people. I refer to them as Sheep, Wolves, and Shepherds. You cannot control who surrounds you but you can understand who they are and how you choose to approach working with them. You can also control who YOU ARE and understand your own objectives because that is what defines you and what you reflect to your team.”
1. Sheep-Everyone starts as sheep. Some people choose to remain sheep, some advance into shepherd’s, and some advance into wolves. On a daily basis life is easily for sheep, they are not burdened with decision making, sometimes they lack responsibility, but they get to enjoy life a little more than the other two. In business sheep is where the money is made, more sheep more productivity. However if the sheep want more in life for themselves they have to incur risk. They also have to choose, do they trust the shepherd or do they trust the wolves? They’re only two options for the sheep, to be adored so much by the wolves or shepherd’s that they’re excepted as one of their own, or to be eaten. In my opinion it’s never beneficial to stay sheep. While sometimes life is easy, sheep also can be dealt the hardest days with little to no benefits. The sheep will always depend on guidance.
2. The Wolves- Wolves are the ones who choose to put themselves before others. The wolves live to kill sheep and shepherds. They instill fear into the flock. They can sway the decision making of both shepherd and sheep. The wolf is cunning and smart. The wolf is deceptive and finds ways to get what it needs, even if it’s at the expense of others. The wolf is a wolf because nature intended it to be, so the wolf will never change. When sheep or shepherd trust in the wolf they’re almost guaranteed to be eaten or killed. Never put your trust in a wolf. The wolf chooses to think less and lash out way more in the heat of battle. The wolf leads its pack based on domination. If those who choose to follow the wolf show weakness they’re left behind. The leader wolf will always assure they eats first.
3. The Shepherd- The shepard lives by these objectives, that is to lead the flock, to care for the sheep, and to protect the sheep from the wolves or others meant to do them harm. The irony behind being a shepherd is most sheep really do not understand the shepherd’s purpose. They know they feed them, and lead them, but they do not know why. That however is okay because the shepherd does not do what they do for validation, they do it because the flock feeds their family. At times the shepherd is forced to eat sheep for survival (again why it’s never beneficial to stay sheep). The difference between the shepherd and wolf is to assure the preservation of the sheep, as they know if the wolves were given the opportunity they would devour every last sheep until there is nothing left. In this analogy the shepherd is the leader. They put business first. They have morals and values. They have an understanding of what must be done, and at times sacrifice their life for the sheep and the business.
In retail we get to choose who we want to be, but once you decide it’s really hard to change. It’s really hard to regain the trust and credibility of others, and it’s something we have to live with for the rest of our careers, and for some of us, the rest of our lives. So know in your heart who you want to be, who you want to follow, and choose wisely.
Please comment to us and let us know who you are and why.