SUCCESSFUL FEMALES AT WORK - 10 LESSONS FROM THE BEEHIVE
Marvelling at the unique world that honeybees live in, much can be learnt from the hive. Each colony has one queen bee, a few male drones and thousands of female worker bees. On International Women’s Day there’s a lot these female workaholics can teach women entrepreneurs on how to be the best version of themselves and to be successful in the business world.
- LIFE ISN’T A COMPETITION
Honeybees are social creatures and nature’s ultimate team-player. They behave as if individuals matter, while at the same time keeping the common good of the hive as their priority. If one bee is suffering or falling behind, the others step up and do the work, making sure that collective productivity is never reduced. Because the relationship between them is not competitive, their community is efficient and harmonious.
- ITS ALL ABOUT COMMUNICATION
Bees use vibration and odour to send messages throughout the colony. Honeybees have evolved an extraordinary form of communication known as the "waggle" dance. When a worker discovers a good source of nectar or pollen, she will return to the hive to dance, using the angle of her body relative to the hive ceiling and sunlight to give precise directions and approximate distance to her sisters. Through this extraordinary communication they work together to ensure that the entire colony thrives.
- A SKILLED TEAM IS KEY
Female workers bees take on different roles at each stage of their short life, starting as hive bees who will progress from housekeeper, undertaker, nurse to young bees; to attending to the Queen bee, collecting nectar from foraging bees returning to the hive, building and fanning the honeycomb; to guarding the hive before finally becoming field bees going out and foraging for nectar and pollen.
- NEED TO ADAPT TO SURVIVE
The role of the Queen Bee is to lay eggs (fertilised by the male drones). However, if the Queen becomes ill or dies, a simple worker bee will take on the responsibility of laying eggs, in order to protect the genetic legacy of the colony. These eggs are unfertilised but result in the creation of a new drone (male). Despite the fact the original colony will die out, the new drones will leave and mate with Queens from neighbouring hives, ensuring the continuation of the colony’s genes.
- HARD WORK PAYS OFF
Bees are thought to be one of the most hardworking insects. They work with great dedication to build their own home, to collect food and store it for later use. Sit by the entrance to the hive and it’s so easy to understand how the idiom “busy as a bee” has entered everyday speech. Honey or “liquid gold” is the reward for their endeavours.
- GIVE AND TAKE IN BALANCE
Bees have amazing symbiotic relationships with plants; they are neither greedy nor selfish. In the process of gathering nectar, a field bee gives back more than it takes by transferring pollen grains from one flower to another, so that essential plant reproduction can take place. These amazing pollinators account for over 80% of pollination of our cultivate crops.
- STRONG LEADERSHIP IS ESSENTIAL
The derogatory “queen bee” label is given to women who pursue individual success in male-dominated work settings. Within apiculture there are far more positive connotations and the queen bee plays a vital role in ensuring the longevity of the hive and in regulating he unity of the colony through clear instructions to her workers
- HOWEVER, EGO IS NOT IMPORTANT
Even though there is a queen bee, even she knows her place and role within the hive. Although the bees depend on their queen, she still behaves as a servant to her hive. All the bees work to the best of their ability for the good of the hive. Their harmonious and efficient communities are a result of teamwork and respect for each other, valuing each other’s contribution, working as one entity and being equal to one another.
- PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE
When a bee collects nectar, she does not do it for herself. She will live for around 45 days, although it take two months to convert the nectar in the hive to honey. So, each worker bee doesn’t to see the fruits of her labour. She works this hard because it is essential for the survival of the hive.
- SPARE A THOUGHT FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT
As pollinators, bees play a part in every aspect of the ecosystem and are important to a healthy environment. Vital for the preservation of ecological balance and biodiversity in nature, even their simple everyday actions are made with care. While the bee is collecting pollen or drinking nectar, it does not harm the delicate petals of the flower.
We can see that female honeybees provide a model for a precise, compassionate community which is achieved by being attentive to each other, clear communication and a dedication to hard work. Just imagine the human success we could achieve by adopting the same traits as these fantastic females!