Leadership is hard. Hard to define. And harder to live up to. Endless books and videos about best principles of leadership later, what we get to witness most often, is quite the opposite. Lack of courage. Lack of decisions. Lack of leadership when it's needed the most.

Ok, so where does storytelling come in here you might ask? Neil Gaiman once said something profound. Well, he says profound things quite often, but this one really stayed with me. He said everything in fiction is made-up. Quite literally. Unless it's a true crime or a biography. Creative license could play out there too. Think of the story of Red Riding Hood. A talking wolf posing as the ailing grandmother. Fantastic really. And we know it is even as we read it. Yet, it contains such a vulnerable truth pill hidden in the fantastic story, that we remember it, "Never trust strangers in the woods." More than the nth leadership principle that gets sprouted by the latest guru.

Here's my humble attempt. A corporate satire poem that I wrote to reflect on the moments when courage is sorely lacking in leadership. And how we hope to find the missing courage as we must. If it resonates with you in anyway, would love to hear from you. I use storytelling as a way to improve learning and business outcomes.

A Day in the Jungle

You saw the wolf,

Red slits in his eyes,

He pounced, your

Soul an easy target.

Tail down, you walked,

To your hole, a 4 ft cubicle,

With no forest view.

You sighted the snake,

Slithering in the corridor,

Of broken promises,

And remarks snide.

He hissed at you,

You needed a moment to recover,

But you had to clock your time.

The eagles scooped down,

Pounced on the carcass,

At the coffee counter.

Their share of the loot,

Collaboration be damned,

Gossip the new fuzzy drink,

For the grapevine bloodhound.

You looked for the lion

To guide, to help,

But the corner room

Of this new-age fable,

Had no lion, just a

Sleeping crocodile with his

tail resting on the CEO”s table.

Day over, the animals

Started swiping their way

Out of the jungle.

You joined the queue.

They looked at you,

A misfit, a mere rat,

They laughed at you.

Tiny paws opened,

The door of your home.

Big smile and a bigger hug.

Your child didn’t care

For your jungle days.

And you finally felt free, for the

Lion, it was always you.


Debleena Majumdar

Debleena has spent over 15 years in roles ranging from being an employee at global firms, as an investor and as an entrepreneur. For the first twelve years, working with large firms such as GE, Prudential, Fidelity, JP Morgan and HP, in Strategy and Analytics roles, she was finding her own stories.

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