Friday Fable. Aesop’s “THE MOTHER AND THE WOLF”*

Posted by jlubans on October 02, 2014

"Early one morning a hungry Wolf was prowling around a cottage at the edge of a village, when he heard a child crying in the house. Then he heard the Mother's voice say:
"Hush, child, hush! Stop your crying, or I will give you to the Wolf!"
Surprised but delighted at the prospect of so delicious a meal, the Wolf settled down under an open window, expecting every moment to have the child handed out to him. But though the little one continued to fret, the Wolf waited all day in vain. Then, toward nightfall, he heard the Mother's voice again as she sat down near the window to sing and rock her baby to sleep.
‘There, child, there! The Wolf shall not get you. No, no! Daddy is watching and Daddy will kill him if he should come near!’
Just then the Father came within sight of the home, and the Wolf was barely able to save himself from the Dogs by a clever bit of running.”

“Do not believe everything you hear.” Or, quoting the disappointed wolf: "’As for the people in that house, you can't believe a word they say!’”

And, as for work, what does this story suggest?
Like the gullible wolf, don’t get taken in by promises from someone who has always avoided conflict. When a supervisor promises you to discipline a poor performer - “He’ll get the message, no worries” – but nothing changes maybe the supervisor is caving, opting out of her obligation to provide guidance. If so, you’ll be like the wolf, lying under the window waiting for the baby to get tossed out (with the bathwater, to mix fables with adages.) In any event, if you want this scenario to change, you will need to help the inept supervisor. Help him with having those difficult conversations. Help her with reaching a successful resolution. If nothing changes, then you will have two problems on hand: the timid supervisor and an intractable employee. Eventually, someone will catch on that you, too, are part of the problem. Get ready to do a “clever bit of running.”

*Source: Aesop for Children (translator not identified). Illustrations by Milo Winter (1886-1956). Chicago: 
Rand McNally & Company, 1919. Available online at Project Gutenberg.

@Copyright John Lubans 2014

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