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The Cobra and The Mongoose – Leadership Lessons

By June 22, 2011February 14th, 2019Articles, Leadership, leadership

From Monday Inspiration – 20th June

I was chatting with a good friend of mine on the weekend and somehow he injected the story of the cobra and the mongoose into our conversation. I’d not heard of it before so he theatrically explained the only animal that can defeat a Cobra, besides man, is the mongoose. When they meet each other, there is this incredible stand off as they eye each other off, circle, wait, watch and then when the time in right, attempt to be the victor. The mongoose generally wins due to its ability to tire the cobra out through its skill and agility. I found it quite fascinating and it was made more interesting by the storyteller’s ability to spin a good yarn!

It did get me thinking though and it’s a great metaphor for leaders who have a team of people, those in a dispute or negotiation, those having relationship issues or even for parents. When situations become challenging and tense, one person generally plays the role of the cobra, waiting to strike with venom and take the other down quickly and with one fatal blow. The other may play the role of the mongoose. They play the game, think it through, plan and then take action when the time is right. 

What you need to decide is which one is right for you and what will get you the best results. One foul strike with venom is quick and final, however it comes at a risk as your opponent may be more agile than you. Waiting and watching until the time is right is a more considered approach, does come with risks but may get you a better result.

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” ~ Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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