Over the weekend, I was watching ancient aliens on the history channel. During this particular episode (it was a marathon by the way) they were discussing the possibility of “ant people” who may have once populated the earth. Now as bizarre as this sounds, it began to make me wonder about ants and how they convey leadership qualities. These tiny creatures who have outlived the dinosaurs and outnumber humans (one million ants for every human) have an amazing resiliency that in my opinion is incomparable to any other creature on this planet. This resiliency made me wonder, how can something so small, have so much perseverance? What are ants doing that we as humans need to consider as leaders and followers?
Ants have sophisticated living systems that focus on one of the key qualities of leadership, teamwork. Ants value teamwork. Everything they do from protection to food collection is a team effort. There are groups (worker ants, soldier ants etc.) rather than individuals who each have a crucial role to the survival of that colony. Task are divided, amongst the members of the colony to increase productivity of the group. Communication within a colony creates “hive” mindset where all the ants work together functioning as one cohesive unit. This “team” mindset allows ants to solve problems and accomplish goals that as individuals would pose great difficulty. Within an ant colony there is no room for selfishness, with each ant being just as important as the other. The abandonment of “I” for “we” is evident and necessary for their survival. As humans, I think we can learn something from these tiny creatures about the importance of teamwork. Ants teach us the importance of every individual contribution, to the success of the group. As members of a team we must think of every person as an important piece to the puzzle and use their talents and abilities to help solve problems. We must communicate effectively as a team in a way that makes everyone opinions feel valued. Just like the ants, if every member of a team feels that they have something to offer, they will be more willing to work toward accomplishing goals for the organization in which they serve. Moreover, as the ants we must create teams that motivate each other and work together for a common purpose. Ants don’t give up when the load is too heavy, work together as a team to move food and other materials back to their colony for the purpose of survival. As humans, if we adapted this team dynamic, when faced with problems in an organization, we too could accomplish great feats just like the ants. All in all, the ants have the team thing down packed, and we should get on board too.