Itsy Bitsy Spider - [website] Email Print
Published: 27th of Jul 2018 by: Debbie

“The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out
Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain
So the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

Incy Wincy Spider climbed up the tree
Down came the snow and made poor Incy freeze
Out came the sunshine, and melted all the snow
So Incy Wincy Spider had another go.”

Just recently I had the pleasure of facilitating a workshop at a small enterprise who employed mostly blue collar workers. One of the quieter delegates sitting at the back of the class (emotional intelligence training) caught my eye and as the workshop progressed I noticed that he was taking a copious amount of notes.

During the first practical exercise I walked to him just to check that everything was fine as he had not interacted much in the discussions.
He smiled broadly and said yes, everything was indeed quite fine.
He was just learning and already he had identified a problem he had at work that he could have handled differently for a better outcome.
I asked him if he would like to share. This was his story.

He was a bit younger than the rest of his team, he had been given the promotion to team leader and just about overnight he had felt alienated as the team mocked and ragged him for his ambition and taking his job so seriously.

At first he simply laughed along with them, knowing full well what his goals in life were, but it soon became apparent to him that they were not going to make it easy for him with reference to reaching targets and working toward the promised production bonus.
They would do the job, but with no attention to detail resulting in errors and come-backs. No matter how he tried to motivate them and encourage them to take pride in their work, they were still just doing their own thing.

His response to this was to work harder himself, delegate less and less duties and simply to ignore those that were not co-operative. The result was that he became extremely stressed, much overworked and had decided that he did not want the responsibility of being team leader. He was about to tell his management this.

I asked him what he had heard that morning that had him smiling so brightly at that moment.

"Well I see that this is all my fault. It’s got nothing to do with them. It’s the way I managed that communication that was wrong." He said to me I am like the spider that built a web and when the first rains came and washed my web away I want to become an ant and not work to build another web.
I just want to be like all the others.

But not anymore, so I have been writing down what I want to do to be the best team leader ever because one day I want to be the site foreman.

And it was then I realised what the nursery rhyme is actually all about.
If you want to succeed, simply try again!

I wish this young man all the luck in the world. I know that he will succeed because with such an openness to learning and growing the world will be just a tad easier to handle.

Email us at for more info on our Emotional Intelligence workshops or give us a call at 0861 996 660

© Debbie Engelbrecht

Debbie Engelbrecht is the MD of Staff Training, established in 2001. She is a soft skills facilitator and management coach and strives to enthuse, assist and empower her fellow South Africans wherever she has the skill to do so.

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