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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

What nature can teach you about leadership

We have all seen it a million times, geese flying in a V formation, yet, how many of you have really stopped to ask “why”? The answers to great leadership are literally right over your head and yet, we miss it.

Geese, miraculously, have figured it out. Their vision of their greater goal: long distance travel and preservation of their team ,has led to humble leadership, recognition of strengths, maximizing the power of a greater vision, and creating a culture of support and protection. Let’s break this down:

  • Humble leadership: The front bird, regardless of skill, does not stay front and center at all times. The concept of a leader has drastically changed over the years, no longer is “top-down leadership” revered or sought after. Harvard business review notes “you are merely overhead unless you’re bringing out the best in your employees. Unfortunately, many leaders lose sight of this.” The talk of “servant leadership” refers to the shared power of success. The ability to see in others what they can not see in themselves and your ability to support growth and provide opportunity for personal expansion. Leadership is no longer about you, it is about how you serve others to have greater impact.

  • Appreciation of strengths: Sometimes that comes in the form of agility, resilience, skill, or insight. Either way, the birds rotate the lead position, in this case to preserve energy, capitalize on drafts, and move the whole team (flock) up to 70% further! If we can get out of our own way and work together, we all rise. This requires humble leadership and the confidence to step back and support from behind. What would your team look like if you were 70% more efficient and productive? Patrick Lencioni recently developed this invaluable tool to identify your team's inherent “working genius”. Knowing the individual strengths of your team, you have the opportunity to level up your success and impact almost immediately.

  • Vision: If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there! I can not recommend this podcast episode enough… Andy Stanley interviews Horst Schulze, the co-founder and former president of the Ritz Carlton Hotel. There is nobody that holds a vision quite like Horst. We all have job responsibilities and duties to perform but if these tasks are not rooted in something bigger, something more inspiring and purposeful, then we are just skilled widgets clocking in and clocking out. Slowly, the foundation will crumble.

  • Support: Geese fly in a V formation so they can see the other birds, stay on track, and not crash. Human connection and support is a non-negotiable. The number one reason people leave their jobs is not because of money, it is because they don’t feel valued or connected. Imagine what your team could do if you sent the message that they could never fail? You believed so strongly in their skills and performance that no matter what happened you would support their growth. How might that unleash potential in everyone?

My Challenge To You:

  • Of the 4 concepts above, which one is hardest for you? What is one thing you can do to improve your team support or capitalize on other’s strengths.

  • Click on the Working Genius link and take the test. It is incredibly insightful and awakens you to the possibilities you never considered. My working geniuses are “Discernment and Enablement”… imagine that!

  • The more you trust your team the more they will trust you. Who on your team could you assign a project to? Are you holding on too tightly? Do you trust your team? If you are having trouble with this, let’s talk. Again, you don't have to do this alone. Success is a team sport.

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