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We can learn a lot from the animal kingdom when it comes to leadership. Without the formality of human leadership many animal species naturally work together as teams and with their leaders to enable greater productivity, albeit measured in different ways than for humans. For example, the lion is arguably the king of the jungle and by protecting his pride he ensures their survival and success. He delegates the task of hunting to the females who use their strengths to work as a team and bring home food for the pride. This innate understanding and demonstration of clear roles and responsibilities creates the foundation for success.

Other animal species can also teach us or re-iterate the qualities and actions of great leadership. Here are 5 lessons from geese:

As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an ‘uplift’ for the birds that follow. By flying in the ‘V’ formation, this uplift allows the whole flock to increase their flying range by 71%

Lesson 1:Leaders who share information, knowledge and resources can help their teams get where they’re going more easily. Leaders that are clear about objectives and roles set their team members up for success, they provide ‘uplift’ for their team members by creating an environment based on trust and support.

The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed

Lesson 2:Leaders need to make sure their ‘honking’ is encouraging and constructive. They need to ensure the efforts of those at the helm, which may not always be the leader, are appreciated. In teams where feedback and praise are given, productivity increases.

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds in front.

Lesson 3:If leaders can encourage the team to keep heading in the same direction, and work as a unit, they experience less ‘drag’ in the form of conflict, negativity and difficulty.

When the lead goose tires, it drops back into the ‘V’ formation and another goose takes its place.

Lesson 4:It pays to share the load, delegation and teamwork help share the workload. Leaders that respect, value and use their team members strengths and motivations build trust and dependence within their teams. 

When a goose gets sick, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help protect it.

 

Lesson 5:Leaders who have as much sense as the geese stand by their team members when they need support. They demonstrate that they are a valued member of the team with words and action. This will strengthen and empower them to perform at their best.

By looking to the animal kingdom, we can be inspired to use some of their tactics to make us better leaders. For more information on leadership please contact jill@jemtraining.com.au