What are some of the leadership lessons we can learn from the formation and synchronized movements of a flock of birds, like geese or starlings, to organize effective teams?
1. A common purpose or aim
When birds fly in formation, they travel about 70% faster than when they fly alone. When people share a common aim or sense of community, they achieve results more quickly by trusting one another. People can only be fully committed when the common objective of the team (or corporation) is aligned with their own individual objectives, values and principles.
In many companies, the overall (sales) targets only deliver on the aims of the people at the top of the hierarchy. In order to inspire people and create loyalty, company goals and targets need to be aligned with a broader common purpose. Shared objectives and principles will lead to increased creativity, innovations and new solutions. We need common ground to create uncommon results!
2. Commitment to others
Birds of a feather flock together. The highly coordinated movements of a flock of birds are among the most fascinating phenomena to be found in nature. A flock of birds seems to turn and maneuver as a single unit, changing direction almost instantaneously.
Commitment to each other forms the foundation for synergy that allows a team to work in unity. Commitment to others can only be achieved through honest communication, contribution and cooperation. The individual commitment to a team effort is what makes a team successful! A strong sense of commitment creates a feeling of belonging and security.
3. Shared leadership
Observation shows that geese rotate leadership regularly and frequently. Different birds will be at the front of the flock every time it changes direction. Successful teams share leadership according to the changing circumstances. Leadership shifts to where it is most appropriate based on the individual skills, knowledge and strengths of its members. The old business paradigm, based on hierarchy – a single leader - and individualism, undermines the productivity and effectiveness of many teams.
About Dieter Pauwels:
Dieter Pauwels is a professional certified life, business and career coach, speaker and author, facilitating personal and organizational transformation. He works with both individuals and teams to create new possibilities, manage change and maximize their productivity and personal effectiveness.
You can visit his website at www.dieterpauwels.com or read his comments and thoughts on the impact of coaching on life and business on his blog at http://lifecoaching.dieterpauwels.com