Leadership Lessons from Geese

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A model for leadership and teamwork

As each goose flaps its wings in a flock, it creates uplift for the bird following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 70% greater flying range than if the bird flew alone.

Lesson 1       

People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they want to go quicker—and easier—because they are traveling with the support of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone, and quickly returns to formation where it is supported by the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

Lesson 2       

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed in the direction that best benefits the whole team (and are willing to accept their help as well as give ours to others).

When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies in the lead position.

Lesson 3       

It pays to take turns doing the challenging task, and to share the leadership with people. As with geese in formation, in a team we are dependent on each other.

The geese in formation honk from behind to continuously encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

 Lesson 4       

We need to keep the words, tone and body language we use with our team members empowering and encouraging, instead of negative or disempowering.

When a goose gets sick or wounded and falls out of formation, two geese fall out along side to help and protect it.  They stay with it until it is able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another formation, or to catch up with their original team.

Lesson 5       

If we have as much sense as geese, we too will stand by each other in difficult and challenging times, as well as when we are strong.

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