Leadership and Teamwork, pt I & II

I live in Colorado and we see a glorious amount of flock-flying birds. Many of them are geese, and others are birds of various species that fly in incredibly huge numbers and formations. I often wonder about their instinctual ability to synchronize as a group, and I came across these 2 articles today on leadership and teamwork. I enjoyed them both very much.

Fly Farther with Teamwork
by EnergyBoomer.typepad.com

Last Friday evening I was driving back to Ohio from two days of meetings in Michigan. There was a burning red glow of a sunset ahead as I drove south. Flocks of geese were silhouetted against the bright red sky as they circled in to land on the ponds along the way.

Based on the number of flocks of geese that I saw hurrying south, we must be in for some cold weather. When that many flocks are moving south at the same time it usually means that they are trying to keep ahead of the cold weather that is pushing them on their migration.

Watching the V formations of geese reminded me that they fly like that to save energy. The lead bird must be strong and break the path through the wind resistance. The trailing birds do not need to work as hard to keep pace because of the way the air flows off the leader’s wing tips.

The following birds keep the airflow moving outward off their wing tips, benefiting the bird behind them. You can hear the following geese cheering their leader on. The leader changes often enough to keep the flock moving ahead without slowing.

Their teamwork reduces the muscle energy that each bird in the flock uses to make the trip South. The more they work together the farther they can fly. All because of the energy saved by teamwork.

Teamwork will determine the distance we can fly ahead by saving energy.

Your flock may as small as your family or it might as big as your work group or community. What ever size flock you are with you can save energy by using teamwork.

Helping each other save energy reduces the amount of work each individual needs to do.

Some folks do not like to fly in formation; they like to go it alone. A lone goose cannot fly as fast or as far toward its objective as a V formation flock can.

Our goals of saving energy and having a high quality of life is possible and is made easier for each of us, by everyone working together.

Point the V in the right direction and let’s get flying.

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Comment by Alexa on January 24, 2010 at 6:41pm
Here's Pt. II

I am pondering the idea of leadership. And how we reconcile ourselves with knowing we are a part of the whole, and yet, willing to step out and lead. In certain occasions and events, we may be called upon to lead. And when we choose a leader for a various cause, be it the Presidency of our country, or the board of our local community group, we experience natural boundaries that allow each individual to gravitate towards how they wish to serve in any given situation.

With my own development as a leader, there are times I like to lead. And times I like to use my skills in ways that can best benefit the cause of the group. For example, when I develop a creative project, I like to lead and be the major decision-maker. Conversely, when I work for the project of another, be it a fellow film-maker who needs a second cameraman, or an animal rights group, I like to focus on the task at hand and enjoy my committment to the leg work or my focused contribution to the whole. I enjoy both roles at various times. And I am still developing my comfort with being a leader at various times.

Here is a great little article on leadership by DailyOm. Part II in my blog series on leadership and teamwork today.

Moving as One: Leadership and Responsiveness
by DailyOm

If you have ever seen a flock of geese fly overhead, you know how difficult it is to tell who is leading whom. The geese move in swift syncopation as if they are all responding instantaneously to the same cues, tapped into an unseen force that directs and guides their movement as one. It is the same way with wild horses or a herd of buffalo. Yet in all these cases, there is a leader who has established his position through demonstrations of strength, ability, and dominance. The total cohesiveness of these groups is a symbol both of excellent leadership and an excellent ability to follow. It takes both of these qualities for any group or system to work well.

In human communities, it is not always easy to establish who should be leading and who following. There are many reasons for this, including but not limited to the fact that our ways of determining leadership are less instinctual and therefore less clear. It is very rare that everyone is in complete agreement as to who should lead. In the big picture, of course, competition is a positive factor, preventing stagnation and entrenchment. However, in smaller groups, when a leader is truly called to the position and her constituency is responsive to her leadership, an enormous amount of work can be accomplished. This tends to work only if the individuals in the group share a powerful, heartfelt common goal. This goal is the unseen force that directs and guides the group so that they can move as one.

A flock of geese winging in unison across the sky can serve to remind us of what we can accomplish when we surrender to the greater good. When any group of people moves as one, there is a leader at the helm who has sacrificed his or her individual ego to the larger vision of the group and followers who have done the same. When the ego is subdued, it is easier to sense the right way to go and correctly choose the leader who can best take us there. Like a flock of geese, we move swiftly and harmoniously toward our shared vision.
Comment by Marianne on January 22, 2010 at 9:57am
Thanks, Alexa. I just LOVE this (my geese). The manner in which the geese fly in formation is not unlike Tai Chi where we follow the people in the first row, moving in unison with the Universe.
The geese and ducks flying in formation is a beautiful lesson for all of us.


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