Leaders never want another leader… a corporate message from mole rats


Naked mole rats are otherwise called as ‘sand puppy’ or desert mole rats, belong to the group – rodents, live subterranean (underground) life. They live in burrows that extent up to several kilometers. They are unique both from the biological as well as from the behavioural end. Among vertebrates (animals with backbone  and more so with mammals, the naked mole rats only exhibits ‘eusociality’ like many insect species like wasps, termites, ants, honey bees etc.

Social organization and the division of labor in the society of naked mole rats are defined unambiguously. The single prominent breeding queen who is supported by large number of workers and soldiers are found in their colony. A few male are also present in the colony for the purpose of reproduction.

The breeding or reproductive queen is the one occupying the top position in the hierarchy. Among the soldiers and workers, there are several females, but are sexually sterile. As long as these females can remain ‘quiescent sexually’ can live peacefully in the colony. If they show any further growth towards sexual maturity by secreting the sex hormones, are evicted or forced to recede from such development.

If the queen dies, many females gallop to fierce fight to occupy the top position. Many may loose the battle and become worker or soldier again and the winner indeed becomes the new queen of the colony.

The well evolved social setup and division of labor seen in the colony of naked mole rats definitely reveal the true and genuine existence of such leadership in most corporate. Such leadership is more pronounced in ‘single man corporate’ as mostly they lack vision and value.

While appreciating such orderly social hierarchy of naked mole rats, the corporate people should introspect as which position they hold in the corporate.

The queen mole rat ensures that all other females in the colony remain as either worker or soldier and never ever should attain sexual maturity in other words, the leadership quality. Many corporate leaders appreciate their subordinates mainly to ensure that they remain as what they are, forever. Only when the subordinate remain as subordinate in all sense, these bosses can remain as what they are.

The bosses in most corporate used to say that unless they ‘interfere’ and ‘interject’ in the activity of their subordinates every then and there, their subordinates might not even perform. Indirectly these bosses are communicating nothing but their subordinates’ worth only to remain as ‘subordinates’.

Never be a part of such system. Introspect whether your corporate follow and be proud of such working style or culture. If so, search another job immediately. Remember, you are not born to live and die as an employee. Discover the hidden talents, leadership capabilities and purpose in you.

Although the social hierarchy of naked mole rats is amazing, but never love to be a member in such colony, where you will have to remain ‘quiescent’ and ‘inert’ throughout, despite having all talents.

Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

Learn more from the following management books
1. Jungle wisdom for corporate management – lessons from the university of nature by Swami Sukhabodhananda and Dr S Ranganathan

2. Nature – The Entrepreneur by Dr S Ranganathan