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Five Leadership Lessons From Geese

As some of you may already be aware of, I grew up an avid hunter. Every hunting season, my dad would take me goose hunting along the Columbia River in Washington. I learned quite a bit sitting in that blind. A few of the lessons I learned then, have stayed with me to this day, and actually fit rather well in the business setting.

In today’s post, I’d like to share five of the lessons I gleaned from geese during those critical years as well as famously quoted principals I've accumulated and how you can use them in the business setting and community.

Lesson 1- The Importance of Achieving Goals

When geese fly, they flap their wings to create an UPLIFT for the birds that follow behind them. They fly in a ‘V’ formation and by doing so they add about 71 percent extra power for the entire flock. This helps them fly higher with as little energy output as necessary, which is ultimately each bird’s goal.

What We Can Learn

When we foster a sense of community with one focus, we create trust and support that enables all of us to accomplish our goals.

Lesson 2- The Importance of Team Work

If and when a goose falls out of the ‘V’ formation, it will feel the drag and resistance of going at it alone. It will quickly move back in formation to once again take advantage of the lifting power offered by the birds in front.

What We Can Learn

Geese have the sense to stay in formation with their fellow flock members who are headed in the same direction. In our lives, when we are willing to accept help from others and lend a helping hand we can achieve more.

Lesson 3- The Importance of Sharing

Geese who fly in the front of the flock will periodically drop to the back of the formation when they grow weary. Another goose will head up the crew and so goes the cycle.

What We Can Learn

We need to learn to take turns handling difficult tasks. Respecting each other’s unique skillsets is the key to making any team or community work, and through teamwork we can really make the dream work.

Lesson 4- The Importance of Empathy and Understanding

If a goose gets sick, two others will drop out of formation, follow it to the ground, and stay to protect. This is a clear example of empathy.

What We Can Learn

Like geese, we should stand with each other in difficult times, as well as when things are going well.

Lesson 5- The Importance of Encouragement

When geese fly, the birds in the back of the line will ‘HONK’ to encourage those up front to pick up their speed and stay diligent. This encouragement enables geese to fly thousands of miles every year.

What We Can Learn

While ‘HONKING’ at team members isn’t the best idea, if you can learn to provide helpful and energizing encouragement you can empower your team or community. Individual empowerment is a result of the right type of encouragement—encouragement only you can provide.

What are some ways you can apply these “geese” lessons in your professional and personal life?

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