I find sometimes we can get a bit carried away with our self importance and forget the examples we can find on leadership and team building within the animal kingdom. So this post is all about that – what can we learn from the animal kingdom?
1. LESSONS ON LEADERSHIP AND TEAM BUILDING FROM A PACK OF WOLVES
The three in front are old & sick, they walk in front to set the pace of the running group lest they get left behind.
The next five are the strongest & best, they are tasked to protect the front side if there is an attack.
The pack in the middle are always protected from any attack.
The five behind them are also among the strongest & best; they are tasked to protect the back side if there is an attack.
The last one is the LEADER. He ensures that no one is left behind. He keeps the pack unified and on the same path. He is always ready to run in any direction to protect & serves as the ‘bodyguard’ to the entire group.
Just in case anyone wanted to know what it really means to be a leader. It’s not about being out front. It means taking care of the team.
2. LESSONS ON TEAM WORK AND COMMON GOALS FROM GEESE
A. Sharing a common goal: As each goose flaps its wings it creates “uplift”, an aerodynamics orientation that reduces air friction, for the birds that follow. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock achieves a 70% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
lesson we can learn here is that people who share a common direction and goal can get where they are going quicker and with less effort because they benefit from the momentum of the group moving around them. Make sure your team and company is aligned towards a common goal.
B. Having humility to seek help: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the friction of flying alone. It then quickly adjusts its mistake and moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
The lesson we can learn here is to be humble to admit the challenges we face and to seek help as soon as we get stuck. This humility will enable you, your team, and your company to move faster and achieve more.
C. Empowering others to lead: When the lead goose in the front gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and allows another goose to take the leadership position.
The lesson here is to empower others to also lead. Micro-managing and keeping tight control will burn you out. It will also disengage and demotivate others around you. People have unique skills, capabilities, and gifts to offer. Give them autonomy, trust and a chance to shine, and you will be surprised with the outcomes.
D. Always recognizing great work: The geese honk to recognize each other and encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
The lesson here to make sure we praise people and give them the recognition they deserve. Lack of recognition is one of the main reasons employees are unsatisfied at work and quit. It’s very common for people’s efforts to go unnoticed by their peers in a busy and fast-moving work environment. However, remembering to constantly provide recognition and encouragement is vital and keeps teams motivated to achieve their goals.
E. Offering support in challenging times: When a goose gets sick or wounded, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
The lesson here is to stand by each other in difficult times. It’s easy to always be part of winning teams, but when things get difficult and people are facing challenges, that’s when your teammates need you the most.
F. Staying committed to core values and purpose: The geese migration routes never vary. They use the same route year after year. Even when the flock members change, the young learn the route from their parents. In the spring they will go back to the spot where they were born.
The lesson to learn here is to stay true to our core values and purpose. Strategies, tactics, and products may change in order for an organization to remain agile, but great companies always stick to their core purpose and values, and preserve them with vigour
3. LESSONS LEARNED FROM EAGLES
The Eagle has the longest life-span among birds. An Eagle can live up to 70 years. But to reach this age, the Eagle must make a HARD DECISION in life!
In its 40’s, the eagle’s long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey which serves as food. Its long and sharp beak becomes bent and makes it further difficult for the eagle to eat. Added to this trouble, the eagle’s old age and heavy wings, due to its thick feathers, become stuck to its chest and make it difficult for the eagle to fly.
The Eagle is faced with a hard decision:
At this point, the eagle is left with only two options – Die, or go through a painful process of change which lasts for 150 days.
This process of change requires that the eagle flies to a mountain top and sits on its nest. While on the mountain top, the eagle endures the pains and knocks its beak against a rock until it plucks it out. After plucking it out, the eagle waits for a new beak to grow back and then the eagle will start another painful process of plucking out its talons. When its talons grow back, the eagle starts another process of plucking its’ old-aged feathers. After getting rid of these, the eagle waits patiently for five months on the mountain top to be renewed or given a re-birth.
At the end of the fifth month, the eagle will then take its famous flight of re-birth and lives for 30 more years!
The lesson from the Eagle on Change and Renewal
Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens to us. Not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. Many times, in order to survive, we have to start a change process. This process could mean getting rid of worries, old memories, habits and other controversial and troubling past traditions, or even stopping entirely certain ways of doing things. It could further mean getting rid of some negative people or ‘friends’ in our lives. Only freed from unnecessary past/present burdens that weigh us down can we take full advantage and control of ourselves, and thus give our lives new meaning and purpose.
When people ask me what I do, it is hard to explain beyond that I help people – to succeed in business, to enjoy the benefits of my product. I hope you , like me, learned from the contribution from the Animal Kingdom. They teach us about team work, leadership, common goals, leadership. Sometimes I just need a little motivation, just like everyone. These lessons are a reminder, that it isn’t so hard. The clues have been around for millions of years. Teams that stick together and leaders who have the whole team in their heart are the ones that succeed.
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