Hearing the familiar honking sound, you’ve probably looked up in the sky and seen the familiar flock of geese flying South for the winter. When I think of geese in flight, I visualize them flying in a ‘V’ formation. There is a very practical reason they do that. First, it conserves their energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of him, resulting in a reduction of wind resistance. The birds take turns being in the front, falling back when they get tired. In this way, the geese can fly for a long time before they need to stop for rest. The second benefit to the V formation is that it is easy to keep track of every bird in the group. Flying in formation may assist with the communication and coordination within the group. Fighter pilots often use this formation for the same reason.
Here Are 5 lessons We Can Learn From Geese
1. It’s truly an awesome sight to see a group of geese flying together in perfect V formation. Research has shown this “teamwork” adds 71% more flying range compared to a goose flying on its own. Partnership and collaboration is a much more efficient way to accomplish your goals. If you surround yourself with great people, you’re far more likely to succeed than if you attempt to do it alone.
2. If you’ve watched the geese fly, you’ve likely seen one of them fall out of formation. When that happens, the goose has to struggle mightily and fight to get back into line. The lesson comes when you find that magic combination of a well running team and work hard to keep it together. It takes more work to rebuild it once you lose it. A team can be a lot like a family…sometimes you will get annoyed by each other but at the end of the day you know you have each other’s back.
3. When flying in a V, geese change position as they get tired. They eventually make their way to the back where the air resistance is at its lowest and they can then recharge their batteries. Move around and let others take the reins. A great leader knows when to hold on tight, and when to hand over the reins to someone else. Letting others lead helps them develop their individual potential and allows the leader to learn the teams strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge can make the difference between a functional team and a highly productive one.
4. When geese are flying, they are not quiet! They honk constantly, providing encouragement to each other and letting the group know where they are. A great leader is also a great communicator. Frequent communication with the team helps them to know how the group is doing. Great leaders have a vision and they are passionate in their communication of that vision. The more you communicate, the more you and your team will be aligned.
5. Whenever a member of the flock is hurt or simply cannot continue, two other geese fall out of formation and and stay with their comrade until he either recovers or dies. The best teams are made up of people who genuinely care for one another and who are willing to help each other no matter what. Leaders must similarly connect in a meaningful way with those whom they lead. As has previously been mentioned, its important to communicate that they care. But caring is about more than just words, it is about actions.
We can learn a lot from geese. Leadership is about empowering others, inspiring them to get on board as you work to achieve a shared vision. A leader with a goose mindset is someone who understands that progress is only achieved when their team flies in formation, and part of their job is to teach others to be leaders. Is your team flying toward your goal? Bring your team together and see how far they can fly.