There are two kinds of workers in this world: ants and bees. Each has skills that are desired in the workplace and reflected in certain types of people. The question is: which one of these interdependent insects are you most like?
Ants are proper workers. They’re the horses of the insect world. They roll their sleeves up and do what's required, every day, no matter what. They exist across the globe, in nearly every country, divvying up the labour and solving their own little problems with dedication, hard work and team spirit.
In your company, the ants are the nuts and bolts that keep everything together. They’re the cogs that keep the organisational engine ticking over. They’re ambassadors of the status quo. They've been around for a while and spent three, five, ten, even twenty years with the same colony. They know how the organisation works, who does what, who's good at what and what their role is.
Ants don't really care about what they do. They'll do whatever the boss tells them or whatever the rest are doing. They seek safety in numbers because that's where they're most comfortable. But being comfortable isn’t the same as being safe and we shouldn’t confuse the two.
Bees on the other hand are high flyers. They're flamboyant. They're bright, colourful, ambitious and aren't afraid to take risks, try new things and tackle the world. They'll do things alone when needed and perform in a swarm - either way makes no difference to them. They play to their strengths, stick to their guns and fight their corner. They speak up and make noise when they’re not happy and, no matter where they go, they get noticed.
The bees are the mavericks in your organisation that bring about and inspire change. They’re innovators. Status quo-disruptors. Manager challengers. Creatives. They’re the ones moving the organisation forward and making a difference.
Bees aren’t content. They don’t sit around. They get bored easily. They float from flower to flower, role to role, project to project, turning nothing into something and making things happen.
But they’re fussy. They care about the quality of their work and select promising, flowering brands to do business with. They pick and choose where they work, what to work on and with whom they do it.
The workplace needs both!
Ants are closely related to bees. They both descent from wasps and they’re both just as widespread, but the world would have you believe that ants are boring and normal, but bees are rare, weird outcasts. According to the world, ants are clever and harmless, but bees are dumb and dangerous. Ants are approachable, but bees are intimidating and should be avoided.
In reality, one group isn’t better than the other. One group isn’t more dangerous and both share the same goals. They’re just different.
There's no doubt that successful organisations need both ants and bees, the grafters and the innovators. Too many ants means slow progress, a resistance to change and complacency. And too many bees means a quick turnover of staff, novelty over sustainability and constant uproar.
What Are You?
Are you an ant or a bee? Or are you an all rounder - a 'bant'?
Are ants or bees more important in the work place? Is it industry dependant?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and get your take on this in the comments below.