Throw Me To The Wolves & I’ll Return Leading The Pack

by  Cassandra Ferguson  |  Leadership Development
Throw Me to the Wolves and I’ll Return Leading the Pack

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt all odds were against you? What about a situation where you had to take a risk and the numbers or your experience did not meet up to the standards required or needed?

When I think of the quote “Throw me to the wolves and I’ll return leading the leading the pack,” I think of just that, someone had  to be put in a situation where they felt unwarned, intimidated, afraid, and unprotected.

We all know when we are put in a situation like that, our # 1 number goal is to prove to ourselves and others “I can handle this.” Now here you are smack dab in the middle of an attack and don’t know what to do. To top it all, people are watching and waiting to see what are you going to do. There are two sets of cheerleaders on the side, those praying you will make it and those saying you won’t.

The word “throw” means to propel something with force, to enter suddenly in a particular state or condition.

Wolves, largest members of the dog family, have a long adversarial history with humans; they are considered one of the animal world’s fearsome and natural villains. Wolves live and hunt in packs. They can roam perhaps 12 miles in a single day.  They do not eat in moderation; they can consume 20 pounds of meat at a sitting. Scary, right?

Wolves are far stronger and far faster than you can imagine. It’s said to defend yourself without a weapon against a wolf is impossible. Knowing that, are you going to be eaten alive? No, with faith all things are possible. You have just been put in a situation where you have to come up with a plan quickly.

My strategy would include this thinking: I have to get these jokers on my side. I would need a unity strategy, so I looked at some Military Strategies:

  • Counter-Offensive – The term used by the military to describe large-scale, usually strategic offensive operations by forces that had successfully halted the enemy’s offensive, while occupying defensive positions.
  • Incentive – Something that motivates an individual to perform an action. Ultimately, incentives aim to provide value for money and contribute to organizational success.
  • Win Without Fighting – The one that really got my attention. This strategy originated with Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general.

Forbes Magazine wrote an article entitled Sun Tzu’s 33 Best Pieces Of Leadership Advice in May 2014. Many concepts from that article apply to those who want to emerge from being thrown to the wolves as leaders of the pack.  While it was challenging to choose my favorites, here are the ones which inspired me the most:

  1. You have to believe in yourself.
  2. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
  3. Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
  4. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
  5. He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.
  6. Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
  7. There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.
  8. Know yourself and you will win all battles.
  9. Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.
  10. When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard.

Although I shared ten highlights, all 33 pieces of advice seemed victory-destined for me. Visit the entire article, Sun Tzu’s 33 Best Pieces Of Leadership Advice, at Forbes.

As we leave 2015 and enter into 2016, remember some battles you were not supposed to fight, but rather learn from to become a better, wiser and more strategic leader in 2016.

Have you ever felt “thrown to the wolves”? How did you resolve the situation?
Photo Credit: Fotolia Vasily Smirnov

About The Author

Articles By cassandra-ferguson
A passionate, courageous, business and organizational strategist/trainer – Cassandra is often called upon to not only teach adults of all ages but teens and young adults as well. Cassandra has taught and spoken in churches, community centers, corporations, schools and on radio. Her passion is often displayed in her teaching. Cassandra feels that her assignment is to help develop leaders of influence of all ages.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Jane  |  31 Dec 2015  |  Reply

Thank you for your profound and inspiring post, Cassandra. I totally get what you’re saying. First – just the power behind the quote, “Throw me to the wolves and I’ll return leading the leading the pack” is incentive to move. A CEO told me once that he threw me into the deep end of the ocean to see if I would sink or swim. I was scared – but I think being thrown to the wolves would have been petrifying. Win Without Fighting. That definitely fits my style. I don’t have a competitive cell in my body. I liked this post so much I am going to read the full article you linked to. And I am going to look forward to your next article.

John Smith  |  31 Dec 2015  |  Reply

Hi, Cassandra – thanks for an unexpected and very useful viewpoint regarding that monthly theme (the one I ignored).

As someone who has worn the uniform and studied the art, I was pleased to see you picking up on some of the best wisdom the military profession has to offer. War is not about simple violence and destruction, as many think. While most folks would not advocate going to war as the first solution, it unfortunately sometimes becomes the only option.

I know we junior officers were exposed to the idea that you “subdue without fighting” whenever possible. This can be accomplished tactically by things like these:

1) Training, training, training … in situations where you do not have time to think, instincts honed by training take over.

2) Prepare, prepare, prepare … if you wait until you face a situation or crisis, it is already too late. While you cannot anticipate and prepare for every specific possibility, you can prepare for both those most likely and those most serious.

3) Lead, lead, lead … unlike the mythological lone leaders who push others by brute force or intellect, the most influential leaders I have known, military and civilian, are those who lead by serving.

Quick story: I saw two types of leaders in my modest military experience. You could determine which type someone was by what happened when they entered the mess hall or stopped in the field for a meal.

Old-fashioned leaders went to the front of the serving line … because they could.

Servant leaders were the last to eat … because they felt the need to insure that their soldiers were fed first.

Thanks for a post that really resonates with me on several levels and for the trip down Memory Lane:)


Mary C. Schaefer  |  31 Dec 2015  |  Reply

Hi Cassandra. I think I like your own tactic best of all, “I have to get these jokers on my side.” I like your sassy, yet non-aggressive approach.

I can see why it was difficult to pick from among the 31 tips in the article about Sun Tzu. Thank you for picking some out and sharing them with us today so that we can rise to the occasion when thrown to the wolves.

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