The Cobra Strikes Back

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 & managementskills 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.


As a carpenter went home after shutting down his workshop, a black poisonous cobra entered his workshop.
The cobra was hungry and hoped to find its supper lurking somewhere within. It slithered from one end to another and accidentally bumped into a double-edged metal axe and got very slightly injured.
In anger and seeking revenge, the snake bit the axe with full force. What could a bite do to a metallic axe? Instead the cobra’s mouth started bleeding.
Out of fury and arrogance, the cobra tried its best to strangle and kill the object that was causing it pain by wrapping itself very tightly around the blades.
The next day when the carpenter opened the workshop, he found a seriously cut, dead cobra wrapped around the axe blades.


Self-Management Competencies

Stress Management: The ability to keep functioning effectively when under pressure and maintain self control in the face of hostility or provocation.

• Remains calm under stress.
• Can effectively handle several problems or tasks at once.
• Controls his/her response when criticized, attacked or provoked.
• Maintains a sense of humour under difficult circumstances.
• Manages own behaviour to prevent or reduce feelings of stress.
The cobra died, not because of someone’s else fault, but because of its own anger. Often we are so cross with someone else’s behaviour that we destroy ourselves in trying to ‘teach them a lesson’.
Learn to stand back and think of what the consequences of your action will be. And don’t react to everything! If you are really angry with someone there are still many other ways of making your displeasure clear to them.


  • Sujata

    I have a doubt doesnt the animal have the sensation of touch.why did it bite the non- living.
    I really enjoyed your art of story -telling . I wish to attend all the events . Do u come to India?

  • Abhishek Sengupta

    I think the story which you have narrated in your YouTube page was remarkable, the story is straight and simple but have deep meanings to the root. The story took me to those days were I have behaved like the snake. Thank you.
    I am week in speaking and writing English, the search for English brought me to your stories. Mam I am your listener,I listen to you before going off to bed, like the kids,every day.
    I am looking for to you for more n more stories.

  • Nupur Roy

    From a business point of view i think if u r investing on something and not just for once but many time in a row u r going through losses, there is no point of continuing the investment just for the sake of letting it continue, its a call that u need to stop that, before it ruins u completely, same applies for love , relationships, jobs and marriages

  • Sheetal

    I am doing study on management lessons from Indian mythology
    Pls involve me in the group if u have
    I keep reading the blogs and I m inspired to take it further in my organisation

  • Ashish Kapoor

    The story definitely leaves a message. Positive or negative is ours to decide and to infer and again also our decision as to how to react in a situation.

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