Fly Straight Leadership Skills
Amy Giddon shares key findings from the book Lessons from the Geese on how to lead your team towards near-perfect formation.
I was really nervous for my first staff meeting. I was a young vice president and had just been given a new role, one that quadrupled the number of people on my team and gave me oversight of a technical area beyond my current expertise.
What should I say to the team? What would build their trust and confidence in me as a leader?
I stumbled upon “Lessons from the Geese” by Dr. Robert McNeish. This was it. It beautifully captured my views on leadership and how I wanted it to feel to be on our team. It also allowed me to express my expectations for how we treat each other and my own need for support. I recall reading it to the team with a wobble in my voice as I felt the words deeply. Thankfully my vulnerability didn’t send anyone running, and we went on to be a successful team.
Dr. McNeish couldn’t have anticipated #TheGreatResignation when he wrote about geese 50 years ago, but the wisdom of geese might just help us reshape our organizations into places we want to work. He directs us to the energy of shared goals and values to focus and unite the team. He evokes the pain of isolation and abandonment and the healing that true belonging brings. He reminds us that we are here to support and encourage each other as both givers and receivers of care, and we will need to be both. And he challenges us to imagine what true shared power looks like, feels like. How far can we go?
With gratitude to Dr. McNeish, here are the “Lessons from the Geese”:
One: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an UPLIFT for the birds that follow. By flying in a ‘V’ formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent to the flying range.
Lesson: When we have a sense of community and focus, we create trust and can help each other to achieve our goals.
Two: 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: If we had as much sense as geese, we would stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
Key points include:
● True shared power
● Drag and resistance of flying solo
● Community and focus
Read the full article, Being More Human by Being Like Geese, on Linkedin.