Nature is full of leadership wisdom, and we can look no further than Canadian Geese for one of the greatest leadership lessons. Migration sees these beautiful birds spread their wings in search of distant destinations, flying in a “V” formation to maximise the updrafts created by the beating of their wings.
A Goose flying alone would tire very quickly, as the lead Goose feels little support from the up-drafts created by the other Geese. Nature’s innate solution is for the lead Goose to drop back into the formation from time to time, and to have another Goose take it’s place as leader for a while!
Tapping into this collective team effort provides the energy and flow the flock will need to reach their destination safely. What a brilliant design – a way to share the load!
When on the ground, the flock of Canadian Geese may look disorderly – yet when they aspire to shift – magic happens. It’s the magic I like to call a leadershift, a transformational experience where vision, purpose and trusting teamwork come to life.
So what are the “V” leadershift lessons we can learn from Canadian Geese:
- It’s lonely and exhausting up front– sharing the lead and power with others unleashes their own leadership potential and boosts our own energy
- Stepping back from the ‘busy-ness’ of leadership creates an invaluable self-reflective space which helps us to keep thinking innovatively and creatively
- Taking to the skies opens up possibility – inspiring leaders avoid being stuck in the detail and drama; rather they’re able to elevate above the problem and look at far wider perspectives and horizons to see more options. Whilst doing this, they share their vision with others and allow them to take the lead in quality thinking. Great innovations happen when we combine the best of our thinking
- It takes courage to keep moving, and to motivate others to follow us – it would feel far easier to stay in the same spot every season
- When in leadershift flight, the landscape keeps changing – as it is for the lead Goose who has to navigate through the ever- changing clouds. This is normal and something to be expected and accepted
- With elevation comes wider perspective and broader horizons. Sharing this with others connects them with their decision – making potential
- Understanding the “V” formation helps us lose our ‘addiction to being right’. Rather it opens up the aspirational power sharing paradigm, where we look to others for their insights and ideas
The world is changing at lightning speed; it’s Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. We’re looking for leaders who’re able to shift their organisations to have more Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility.
As leaders, here are some questions to think about…
- What is being done in your organisation to help people to thrive and connect to their potential during times of Change?
- How are you creating environments where people feel safe to make mistakes, and use failure as opportunity for learning?
- How well are your leadership bench role modelling a “V” leadershift style?
- What else can you do to encourage self-reflection in your leaders, and help them to grow awareness of the importance of shared thinking and co-created solutions?
- How clear is your organisational Vision, and how is this being shared throughout all levels?
Cheers and thanks