What Penguins Can Teach Us About Team Work
25 April 2018

Have you ever found yourself unemployed or deep in a bout of procrastination marveling at a Planet Earth documentary?

The workings of the animal kingdom inspire intrigue in all of us, their complex survival instincts, group strategy and leadership skills giving our CV a run for its money. And since it’s #WorldPenguinDay, we thought we’d take some tips from our black and white pals, from Africa to Antarctica, and discover what they can teach us about teamwork.

 

You’ve Got To Make Sacrifices

The only animals that live year-round in Antarctica, Emperor Penguins know how to take a hit for the team. Huddling close together, they survive the dark winter chill by taking turns fighting the elements. Their ferocious, ambitious and territorial attitudes means they’re resilient and willing to do whatever it takes to protect their tribe, even in freezing temperatures of -100 degrees celsius. And though you wouldn’t exactly risk your own life to deliver a group project, it’s worth remembering that qualities like resilience, flexibility and courage will ensure business success.

 

It Helps To Think Outside The Box

When you’re working with other people and dealing with a myriad of personalities, skills and experience levels, it’s important to avoid getting too absorbed in your own idea of what is right or wrong, and use the diversity of your team to your advantage. African penguins found off the coast of Africa work together creatively to secure their food source. They swim together herding corral fish into ‘bait balls’ to make them easier to catch. They do this 33% of the time making their fishing escapades 2.7 times more efficient than if they went at it alone.

 

Remember To Take A Collaborative Attitude

For penguins, male and female parents take turns building nests, incubating eggs, and foraging for food, making sure no job goes amiss. This means when one team member is engaged, try to pick up the slack, that way, whatever your end goal is; it’ll be accomplished faster and more efficiently. A collaborative and adaptable attitude is key to successful teamwork as well as thinking of each person’s role as linked to another, so if one fails, the others will too.

 

Examine Your Communication Skills

Despite their lack of visible ears, penguins have excellent hearing and rely on distinct calls to identify their mates when returning to the crowded breeding grounds. So work out the best method of communication, since honest and open discussion is the backbone to the achievements of any team.

 

Understand The Importance of Loyalty

Everyone knows that penguins mate for life. They also often return to the same nesting site in which they were born. This kind of loyalty to their relationships and where they’re from helps them survive, proving that a faithful perspective strengthens the durability of teams.

 

Do you know of any other lessons that penguins can teach us? Let us know on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn, or if you’re keen to discover your own work tribe, check out our current vacancies.