Have the Resources of a Fire Ant!

Executive Coaching

I love living in Florida. Even though there are a few alligators, black bears, and panthers around on occasion, they are not very threatening. In our new city (Estero, Florida) you occasionally deal with fire ants. We are told to stay away from their sand mounds, since if you step on one and they crawl on your body, it will not be a pleasant experience.

But I would like to look at any redeeming qualities of fire ants and see if there’s anything we can learn from them in terms of leadership:

COPING WITH A DISABILITY: To start with, they have no ears, so that could be considered a disability. How do they make up for it? They feel vibrations around them which allows them to “hear” in a different way.

GIVING TO OTHERS: Ants have two stomachs. One is for them to put their own food and digest it. The other one is for them to share with other ants who need more food.

INDUSTRIOUSNESS: These ants can lift 100 times their mass, so they are almost tireless.

DELEGATION: Some ants make others do their work for them. It doesn’t sound like they’re very tactful about it, but let’s still give them credit for understanding delegation will help them accomplish their tasks at hand.

GREAT RESULTS: There are all size mounds that fire ants build, but I’ve caught a couple that are outstanding. I can’t imagine how long it took them to build these impressive structures and how much cooperation it took as they mound the sand very carefully to get them higher and higher. I doubt they are necessarily competing with other mounds, but it shows if you pay attention to what you are doing and do your best, you may astound your competitors.


  • How do you rate on all of the areas listed above?
  • After you rate yourself (you might try a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the best), rate your team members.
  • After you do this, let the team members rate themselves. Does their rating match yours?
  • Have a discussion with your team about how they could reach their highest level of performance.

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