Blog Post

What wolf packs can teach leadership teams.

Apr 04, 2024

One of the things I love about our clients is how they expand your knowledge in ways you were not expecting.  Thanks to one of them, I have learnt a great deal about wolves. Given the usual view of wolves what I learned really surprised me, and made me realise what a great metaphor they are for a leadership team.

I’ve also had to learn a lot because wolves have now arrived in the French mountains where we spend a lot of our holiday time.  They are very close and not that worried by people.

What are our preconceptions formed by? “The Wolf of Wall Street”, the Lone Wolf, the Wolf in sheep’s clothing, the big bad wolf?  Great stories but they bear no relation to the truth.

The reality of wolves is that they are pretty much what you want your high performing leadership team to be.  They are highly intelligent and live in a constant state of collaboration, teaching the young and caring for the old and the sick.  Each wolf understands its role and position in the pack. They are led by an alpha male and an alpha female.  They communicate and share knowledge across generations to allow them to adapt to change.  A Wolf Pack that does not perform at its peak is a pack that starves or is destroyed by the competition.

 It's a great organisational model in today’s fragmented world.

And the “lone wolf”?   It’s a phrase we often use “he/she is a bit of a lone wolf”.  It’s often said with a certain amount of admiration.  The sort of (generally senior) person who is not a team player, who makes their own decisions, takes no prisoners and generally has both bark and bite.  There are a fair number of them on Wall Street.

It turns out that the lone wolf is a human invention.  “A lone wolf” said one researcher “is a wolf looking for another wolf to bond with”.  Life outside the pack is dangerous and short.  Hunting is a team sport.  Another lesson from the wolves for leaders.

Turn your leadership team into a wolf pack.