It’s true they do.  The reason for this is that they leave a scent on the flower they have just emptied of pollen and nectar which means another bee doesn’t have to waste time landing on the same flower, the bee knows it is already empty.  How very efficient!

What could managers learn from bees? Here are a couple of things to stimulate your thinking.


Clear roles and responsibilities

Every bee has its job to do.  The key roles are:

  • Egg producer.  Delivers up to 2,500 a day in peak season.
  • They do the mating stuff (then they die, bad gig.)
  • Worker Bees. Getting on with getting pollen and stuff.
  • Security on the hive. Stop rogue bees getting in.
  • Nurse bees. In charge of eggs. (Big job if you look at the numbers.)
  • Cleaner bees who disinfect the colony.

Lessons for humans: Have clear roles and responsibilities for your team. 


Highly efficient with resources

Did you ever wonder why honeycomb is hexagonal?  Maximum efficiency is the reason.  The cell walls are constructed with wax into which eggs, pollen and nectar are stored.  The hexagon shape ensures that the maximum amount of honey can be stored using the minimum amount of beeswax.

They also recognise that the survival of the whole colony relies on the proper functioning of each individual cell, so bees ensure every single component is well made and properly maintained.

Lessons for humans: No matter where you work in the organisation your contribution matters.  Be proud of what your team contributes and acknowledge it in other departments.

Decide by consensus

When choosing a new site for a colony for example, a bee will investigate, return to the colony and report their findings using the famous ‘waggle dance’.  The more vigorous the movement, the more enthusiastic they are about the new site.  Other bees locate the site and return to join the dance if they are in agreement.  If enough bees say ‘yes’, the decision to relocate is made.

Lessons for humans: Involve everyone in decision making wherever possible.  It leads to greater engagement if people feel they’ve had a say.



Leadership style defines colony culture

The behaviour and efficiency of the colony is dictated by the behaviour of the Queen.  If she is producing more eggs, the bees work harder and faster.  If a new Queen takes the helm and is a slower producer, then the bees also change behaviour.  Mind you, if the Queen slackens off too much on egg production the colony will kill her and replace her with a new Queen.

Lessons for humans: Don’t get complacent, you can be replaced it would seem!

They have work-life balance Issues

There is always a dark side to any team.  For Bees, they are prone to work themselves literally to death.

Lessons for humans: Home time is home time.  Let people switch off outside office hours.  Insist on it if you have to.

Substances affect them

A study on Bees showed that they respond to substances due to their incredible sense of smell.  Apparently Caffeine makes them more efficient and Cocaine makes them lie!  I am advocating neither substance by the way!

Lessons for humans: Diet and nutrition do affect behaviour, so snack regularly and healthily wherever possible.


They have personalities

Yes, apparently there are risk taking bees, shy bees and apparently pessimistic bees.  Who knew!

Lessons for humans: Embrace all the personalities in your team and appreciate difference.

Would you like to help the bees?

It is surprising how many bees live in urban areas, but they are hungry. If you are UK based and have a bit of space around your offices, would you be willing to plant some wild flowers? * You can enjoy watching the productivity of bees this summer while ensuring they get essential pollen. For a free packet of wild flower seeds please click on the ‘contact’ page and drop me a line.

*Apologies to overseas readers, but I suspect I’d be breaking a few customs laws!