Of wolves and lions


    LAST week I missed a chance to attend a two-day session on emotional intelligence (EQ). I suppose my absence was due to God acting in His infinite wisdom. The session I missed was an activity organized by our Human Resources (I was about to type “Rights”) department geared towards improving the EQ levels of management.

    Yes, yes: you CAN teach old dogs new tricks. Don’t believe those who say otherwise.

    Apologies if this next statement will offend some sensibilities, but engineers – mining engineers perhaps specially – aren’t celebrated for their EQ. Heck, it isn’t a requirement when you’re digging into soil or hacking away at hard rock, filling up cargo trucks or barges or processing copper and finding gold in the process. You don’t have to be kind to limonite or even saprolite, nor gentle with a backhoe.

    And maybe that’s why our HR department felt a need for such a session. Imagine if we could be the very first mining “conglomerate” to be known for its high-EQ miners!

    But all the while that my colleagues were at their session I was elsewhere (actually meeting with some newly-minted mining engineers in Davao City) and therefore will have to hope for a second session for those who missed the first one.

    I am keen on attending it, especially after seeing one slide that was presented and that caught my eye and launched me into a hundred and one reactions. It was a slide which outlined what is claimed to be the “credo” of wolves. Credo? Did they really mean belief which guides their actions? A wolverine credo? Very interesting.

    My immediate reaction upon seeing an image of the slide was “Why wolves? Why not Lions?” And my second reaction was “Thank God I wasn’t at the session!”

    Anyway, the alleged credo had nine (nine? Not ten?) key points. And each point had me mentally jumping up and down like a naughty Mexican jumping bean.

    The first point was “Respect the Elders” and immediately I suspected that the human author of this wolverine credo was a fresh retiree who was putting up a consultancy firm.

    “Teach the young” was the second – and again it was clear that us oldies intended to remain relevant and of course we’d never concede that in a world turned upside down it’s time for us elders to learn from the young!

    “Cooperate with the Pack” was the third, and “Play when you can” was the fourth. My thoughts were that I’d rather strive to lead the pack while making sure that work was play so that salaries were a “mere” bonus.

    The fifth was interesting. “Hunt when you must.” Now, how could this be a credible wolverine credo when they MUST always hunt to survive?

    “Rest in between” was the sixth, for which I (being a political science student) prefer Mao Zedong’s famous 1930 advice on Guerrilla tactics: “When the enemy attacks we retreat, when the enemy encamps we harass; when the enemy tires we attack; when the enemy retreats we pursue.”

    You don’t see no “rest” there!

    Seventh was a softie: “Share your Affections.” Nothing much to object to that except to point out that one must make sure that sharing your affections remain within the bounds of acceptable behavior lest you get accused of sexual harassment.

    Eighth was “Voice your feelings” which I found totally hilarious because it is the hallmark of the Filipino employee – heck of us Filipinos!! – that we would never do this because we always want to be nice and are unwilling to hurt the feelings of others (especially of our bosses) so we always just say “yes” or “that’s great” when the boss asks us what we think, even if in the deepest, hidden recesses of our brains we think the idea is harebrained.

    Those who voice their feelings (myself included) frequently find that they need to be ready for the consequences of doing so!

    Let’s face it: among us Filipinos it’s not voicing your feelings that is the issue; it’s the ability of the one they are voiced to accept what is said without taking things personally!

    And finally the last was “Leave your mark.” Which leads me back to my earlier reaction: why wolves and not lions? Between the two the lions HAVE left their mark on the jungle and that’s why they’re called Kings.

    It’s not easy to be a Lion King. To remain the alpha male of a pride of lions requires a lot of skill, even EQ. But I’d rather study the credo of lions because if I am to study a credo anyway then let it be the credo of Kings!

    PS: Now do you see how God in His infinite wisdom kept me away from the session?