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Are You a Robin or a Dove?

How a backyard drama feels like a workplace scenario.

Every year in May, a robin builds a nest under the roof of my deck. I’ve wondered why it’s a prime nesting spot because every time anyone opens the nearby door she startles, flies off and scolds loudly from a distance.

Recently a dove has exercised squatters’ rights and is reusing the robin’s recently emptied nest.

She never leaves when someone approaches, instead she remains still and watchful.

I avoid using the deck when the robin nests. I know she’s defending her nest, but she seems jumpy and angry. In contrast, the dove and I coexist, aware of but not threatened by each other.

This reminds me of a workplace coaching situation in which two coworkers could have been named Robin and Dove. Robin complained about how everyone interrupted her and not only were her co-workers slow, they didn’t produce the high quality work she did. She let everyone know how bothered she was about those she considered slackers, which was pretty much everyone.

Longtime employee Dove contacted me to explore her options because Robin had recently turned her territorial ire toward Dove. Dove just wanted to do her job and was feeling exhausted by Robin’s constant irritation.

What were Dove’s options and decisions? I’ll leave it to you to think about how you would handle it. Email me your solutions

Whether it’s coping with a problem or figuring the next steps toward a goal—coaching helps.


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