What Can Birds Teach Us About Leadership

What Can Birds Teach Us About Leadership

What can migrating birds teach us about leadership? More than you might think. Here are three things we can learn from flocks of birds.  There’s a lot more to each short description. Click on any of the links for more information.

"Waders in flight Roebuck Bay" by Mdk572 - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

“Waders in flight Roebuck Bay” by Mdk572 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

1.  A good leader is a good follower

Birds flying in flocks can migrate longer distances than birds flying alone. They save energy and fly faster together.

2.  Democratic groups share leadership

Birds in flocks lead and follow at the same time. There is no single leader.

"Large number of flamingos at Lake Nakuru" by Syllabub - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“Large number of flamingos at Lake Nakuru” by Syllabub – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

3.  A good leader makes others aware of possibilities

When starlings of flamingos are threatened, the whole flock reacts at once with very little delay between noting the threat and evading it. It isn’t any one bird that has the responsibility for protecting the flock. They all have responsibility for protecting the flock from danger.

Birds share leadership of the v-formation. The bird at the front works the hardest.

Birds share leadership of the v-formation. The bird at the front works the hardest.

4.  A great leader steps down

Birds share leadership. When they fly in the v-formation, for instance, the lead bird works the hardest. Many of the birds in the flock take turns flying lead so that no one bird collapses from exhaustion. In flocks of pigeons, even the weakest birds sometimes lead. Zoologist Dora Biro has speculated that the chance of survival goes up when birds take on leadership positions rather than always submitting to a leader.

 


Featured image by Hamid Hajihusseini – http://www.panoramio.com/photo/43585282 CC 3.0

 

How to Recognize Good Leadership

 

Building a Network with No Masters, No Leaders

Share This