The people who hold romantic ideas about domestic sheep – fluffy soft white pacifist creatures, vegetarians, communal, speaking in soft tones of “baaaa…” –have never actually been around sheep. Maybe they saw lambs at a petting zoo for a few minutes.
Real-world shepherds have realistic ideas about sheep.
Sheep are dirty. Their wool acts like a magnet for dirt, twigs, leaves, and poop. They can’t and don’t clean themselves.
Sheep are dumb. They rarely can extricate themselves from awkward situations. They will play follow-the-leader to their demise. They wander off and can’t find their way back. They need to be moved from field to field because they usually can’t find their way to a new food source without help.
Sheep are defenseless. A crow can land on their heads and peck at their eyes. They will bite you if they get mad, but otherwise their teeth and hooves don’t frighten predators. If a predator doesn’t move, the sheep forget it’s there. Sheep can’t swim, so they stay away from moving water.
The Bible describes people as the sheep of God’s pasture. It sounds nice but it is not meant as a compliment.
I’m certain that your organization is not filled with people as dirty, dumb, or defenseless as actual sheep.
Yet shepherding is a good model for leadership: [Read more…] about Leadership as Shepherding