The Bird With Two Heads

We use stories to break down obstacles to learning…..

The stories that we have used in this series are meant to teach us that we are ultimately responsible for our actions and ourselves. We have to take responsibility for our decisions as well as our miscalculations.
We are told that we must exceed our limitations. But in order to exceed your limitations you must first know what your limitations are.
These stories will help us become more aware of ourselves – our strengths and weaknesses, our values and beliefs, our actions and reactions – because once you become aware of something you can learn to manage it better.

Leadership competencies are leadership & management skills and behaviours that contribute to superior performance. By using a competency-based approach to leadership, organisations can better identify and develop their next generation of leaders. While some leadership competencies are essential to all firms, an organisation should also define what leadership attributes are distinctive to the particular organisation to create competitive advantage. However, skills needed for a particular position may change depending on the specific leadership level in the organisation. By using a competency approach, organisations can determine what positions at which levels require specific competencies. Competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviours that lead to successful performance.

The following stories look at some of the leadership and management competencies (“The Value-Added Employee,” by Edward J. Cripe and Richard S. Mansfield, Copyright 2002 by Workitect Inc) that are necessary in today’s modern and successful organisation.


Once upon a time there lived a bird with 2 heads. It was a strange bird. It had one stomach, which balanced, on the same pair of legs but on top it divided into 2 necks, which ended in 2 heads. One day as the bird was walking along one of the heads saw some delicious fruit lying on the ground. The head began to eat the fruit all the while commenting on how good it was, how tasty, how utterly divine, oh it was amazing! It almost seemed as though with every bite the fruit became tastier. The other head said ‘if it is that good won’t you please share some with me too? After all we share the same body, we are really one person’. But the first head would not allow the second head to get anywhere near the fruit. It kept twisting around and saying ‘oh don’t worry you will have the benefit of it when it reaches our stomach. If we are the same person then we don’t both need to have it.’ And no matter how much the other head asked the first head would not let him taste any of the fruit.

The second head was furious and waited for chance to pay the other one back. The next day as they were walking along the second head saw some deadly poison on the ground and decided to eat it. The first head tried its best to stop him – ‘don’t do it, it’ll kill us! This is not right. We share the same body, you don’t have the right to eat things without my agreement’ etc. But the second head would not listen and it ate the poison and killed both the heads.

tharoor associates | bird two heads

Your ego will bring you down. This is part of the Self-Management Competency. Being emotionally intelligent is crucial to being a good leader and manager.

Emotional intelligence affects us all, whether we are working in collaboration with others or individually on projects. With greater self- awareness of their emotions and the ability to empathise and understand other people’s emotional state, you will perform better in the community. In other words being emotionally intelligent makes a real difference to performance and, therefore, profit. Emotional intelligence is not just a desirable ‘soft skill’. In fact, research indicates that emotional intelligence can be a better indicator of workplace performance than IQ.

Communication and Influencing Competency 

Persuasive Communication: The ability to plan and deliver oral and written communications that makes an impact and persuade their intended audiences.

  • Identifies and presents information or data that will have a strong effect on others.
  • Selects language and examples tailored to the level and experience of the audience.
  • Selects stories, analogies, or examples to illustrate a point.
  • Creates graphics, overheads, or slides that display information clearly and with high impact.
  • Presents several different arguments in support of a position

Interpersonal Awareness: The ability to notice, interpret, and anticipate others’ concerns and feelings, and to communicate this awareness empathetically to others.

  • Understands the interests and important concerns of others.
  • Notices and accurately interprets what others are feeling, based on their choice of words, tone of voice, expressions, and other nonverbal behavior.
  • Anticipates how others will react to a situation.
  • Listens attentively to people’s ideas and concerns.
  • Understands both the strengths and weaknesses of others.
  • Understands the unspoken meaning in a situation.
  • Says or does things to address others’ concerns.
  • Finds non-threatening ways to approach others about sensitive issues.
  • Makes others feel comfortable by responding in ways that convey interest in what they have to say

Building Collaborative Relationships: The ability to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside or outside the organisation who can provide information, assistance, and support.

  • Asks about the other person’s personal experiences, interests, and family.
  • Asks questions to identify shared interest, experiences, or other common ground.
  • Shows an interest in what others have to say; acknowledges their perspectives and ideas.
  • Recognizes the business concerns and perspectives of others.
  • Expresses gratitude and appreciation to others who have provided information, assistance, or support.
  • Takes time to get to know coworkers, to build rapport and establish a common bond.
  • Tries to build relationships with people whose assistance, cooperation, and support may be needed.
  • Provides assistance, information, and support to others to build a basis for future reciprocity.

A lion and a boar were fighting each other when they suddenly looked up and saw a vulture hovering above them. They decided it was better to try and get along rather than have one of them ending up being the vulture’s dinner……
How do you react to cut throat competition?

1 Comment

  • Kiran Darshak

    Hey Team,
    I would first appreciate the contribution made by every team member here.

    First, to the cut throat competition, It leads to nothing but an ultimate destruction to everyone. I personally feel that a friendly competition is a healthy competition. The vulture, lion and boar can team-up and find a prey and have an equal share among them. The contribution from each member is essential here.

    Secondly, regarding the bird with two heads, it depends on the individual perspective. for example, A wolf catches a child as a prey. As civilized humans, we deny this action but if we look from the wolf’s perspective it is absolutely correct. Being all this said, I consider revenge is digging their own grave.

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