Lessons from geese…

Over the years, studies have shown that there are a lot of lessons we can learn from geese when relating to leadership. It is important we develop the skills of a good leader in different ways, all of which impact our ability to lead well in our current environment.

World of Business Ideas, WOBI, UK:
“The role of the leader is to know how to guide them into those places, using and developing skills that will motivate their people to follow them. Authentic leaders engage their team, generate movement and create a space where ordinary people achieve extraordinary results.”

The 7 Life and Leaderships Lessons we can Learn from Geese

1. Geese fly together, they share a common goal and direction
Geese fly in a perfect V formation. Studies have shown that flying in this way and using this kind of “teamwork” adds 71% more flying range for the geese than if they flew on their own. This is because as each bird flaps its wings, it creates and ‘uplift’ that reduces air friction for the birds that follow.
The lesson – people who share a common goal and direction can get where they are going much faster and much more efficiently, because they benefit from the momentum of the group.

2. Geese stay in formation
Whenever a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly try’s to get back in formation. The formation not only makes it easier for the birds to fly, but it increases a flocks overall visibility too as well as their power to be seen.
The lesson – once you’ve established a good team, stay together and work together. Synergy cannot be created by a single person working in isolation, so it is important to stick together. A sense of community emerges from a willingness to work together as a team. Not only is it more efficient – but together you have better visibility of your surroundings and common goals.

3. Geese rotate roles, they encourage the leader and empower others to lead
For the lead goose in the formation, ‘drag’ is high. When the lead goose in the formation tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose takes its place. The lead goose them immediately feels the advantage of lifting power from the bird immediately in front of it.
The lesson – it is important to share the load amongst team members. We should not only be able to admit when help is needed, but we should also work to empower those arounds us to take the lead too. Everyone has different skills and capabilities and sharing the load gives others a chance to shine. Expecting one person to take on all the work is unrealistic, people work better when interdependent with one another.

4. Geese are noisy birds, they recognise and support each other
There are a number of theories as to why geese honk between them, one is that they honk to encourage each other. Another theory is that the honking is used to communicate where each goose is in the formation.
The lesson – In groups where there is encouragement, the productivity is greater. In a fast-paced working environment, remembering to provide recognition and encouragement towards each other (including the leaders) is vital to keep teams motivated and achieving their goals.

5. Leave no Goose behind, they stand by their flock in good times and bad
When a goose gets sick or wounded, two other geese drop out of formation and then follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the goose until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch back up with another formation or catch up with their flock.
The lesson – stand by each other in difficult times. It’s easy to be always be part of winning teams, but when things get difficult and people are facing challenges, that is when your relevance as a teammate comes to the fore.

6. Geese maintain priorities, they stay committed to the team, their core values and purpose
The geese migration routes do not vary. They use the same route year after year, even when flock members change.
The lesson – stay true to your teams core values and purpose. Strategies, tactics and products may change in order for the organisation to remain agile, but great teams always stick to their core values and preserve them with pride.

7. Geese are disruptive
Geese often seem unflustered as they meander along the side of a busy road, however they are most likely uncomfortable about being surrounded by large and noisy vehicles.
The lesson – disruption means getting a bit uncomfortable. Those who disrupt being challenging themselves be setting and achieving goals, they come out of their comfort zone and stretch themselves to think differently.

We hope you find this information useful, and that it is something that you can use and share with your colleagues and peers in your organisation or service.