Last updated on July 9th, 2024 at 03:25 pm

We can achieve bigger things when we have people in our corner cheering us on. Teamwork is all about support. Perhaps surprisingly, so is leadership. Teamwork and leadership are critical in the workplace and in life. 

Throughout history, the best leaders were ones whose teams supported them unconditionally. For example, take Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Sitting Bull, or Susan B. Anthony. All made sacrifices on behalf of the people who believed in them, and none existed in a vacuum. They were representatives of the people, but before that, they were simply members of society. Their exemplary communication, willingness to work together with others, and desire to achieve a common goal set them apart.

We could learn a lot from the world’s greatest leaders, but this type of behavior isn’t only inherent to humans. It’s prevalent in the animal world as well. Geese, for instance, could teach us many inspiring leadership lessons.

The Power of Teamwork Inspired by Geese

Though the average goose weighs between five and 14 pounds, when it bands together with other geese, it can accomplish unbelievable feats—including the ability to fly up to 70 miles per hour and travel up to 1,500 miles in a single day. On its own, however, a single goose could not achieve these goals. The guidance and support of its flock make the goose so powerful, and it’s a reminder that the impact of teamwork cannot be understated for humans or animals. Teamwork makes magical things happen, including:

  • Increased productivity
  • Higher morale
  • Greater team efficiency
  • Improved problem-solving
  • Better decision-making
  • Smoother collaboration

It’s true for geese, and it’s true for you professionally. When team members and leaders trust and rely on one another, they achieve loftier goals. They also have more fun, making work a pleasant place to be.

 Why Do Geese Fly in “V” Formation?

Geese flying in V formation conserve energy. It’s much more efficient than flying alone or in a random pattern. When you consider that geese must cover many miles in as little time as possible, the “V” formation makes perfect sense. 

According to National Geographic, the goose at the front flaps its wings and creates a “rotating vortex of air.” Directly behind this bird, a “downwash” of air forms, but off to the side, an “upwash” occurs. Birds that target the area behind and off to the side of the bird in front of it receive free lift—hence the “V” formation. It’s all very scientific and quite impressive, considering the geese learn this maneuver from one another. Even more interesting is the fact that the geese alternate leaders, allowing each goose to lead the group and the opportunity to rest when needed.

As humans, we could learn a few things from how geese support and interact with one another: how to share the workload, work together as a team to achieve shared goals, and provide comfort and support to a team member when needed.

The Importance of Common Goals

Without common goals, everyone on your team would work toward different objectives. Productivity would suffer, and the team would not be utilizing its talent to its full potential. The same may be said of geese. Without having a clear destination in mind at the start of the migration, the journey would be much more chaotic. Members of the flock might arrive at different destinations at different times. Some geese may not make it to the end of the migration at all, and others could be left behind early on.

Empowering and Supporting Others: Lessons from Geese

When one goose falters during a long migration, two other geese accompany it to land. Here, they stay with their fallen member until it dies or regains the ability to fly. In this sense, all three geese have the support and assistance of one another.

If members of a team respond in a similar way when one person falters, the whole team benefits. Work gets done by the due date, and employee morale remains high. Those who are feeling the strongest may step in to help out. Ideally, when the situation reverses and the stronger team member experiences a bad day, others can step up to ensure the work gets done. Collaboration and support is the earmark of a highly productive team that has a good leader to back them.

Creating a Positive Work Culture

A positive work culture is one in which employees have opportunities for personal development, learn new skills, and take on more responsibilities. They’re respectful of one another and share a willingness to collaborate. The workload is evenly distributed to avoid having one or two people take the brunt of the responsibility, and loyalty and hard work are rewarded accordingly. When teams have common goals, they learn how to work together to accomplish them.

Challenging Yourself and Others: Leadership Insights From Geese

When you think about it, geese face seemingly insurmountable obstacles during their annual migrations. For such small creatures, they’re tasked with traveling thousands of miles. Along the way, they must find safe areas to rest and recharge. They have to forage for food and shelter while avoiding predators such as eagles, foxes, bears, wolves, and raccoons (not to mention hunters). They become a more formidable force by acting as a team.

In the business world, how geese rely upon one another for survival could teach us many lessons in leadership. They may inspire resilience, self-awareness, and a growth mindset as geese learn to overcome obstacles as they encounter them. In addition, they can teach us the importance of relying upon one another when we need a break. By learning to share leadership responsibilities, our units become stronger and can do more extraordinary things. Sharing responsibilities can be beneficial whether you’re at the lowest management level or the corporate CEO.

The Sound of Encouragement: Learning From Honking Geese

Have you ever wondered why geese are so vocal? It’s not unusual to hear a flock of geese passing over long before you see them. You might think their time would be better spent reserving their energy. However, research from CBC Radio-Canada states that the constant honking serves a valuable purpose: It helps the geese maintain their “V” formation and assists them in shift changes with the goose at point. In other words, the geese are shouting instructions to one another that help them maintain or change their position. They also call out in encouragement, and they’ll honk some more when it’s time for the flock to land—to let the geese in the back know what’s coming.

Geese have tremendous communication skills, ensuring every flock member is kept in the loop. They motivate one another, too. As a result, no single goose ever feels abandoned or lost.

Business leaders should strive for these stellar communication skills to interact well with their team. They should encourage honest communication and transparency within the group, too. Effective communication is one of first and most crucial lessons in leadership you’ll learn in a business degree program.

Avoiding Common Mistakes as a New Leader

If you want to become a more effective leader, earning your Master of Business Administration in Management (MBA) can help you hone those vital leadership skills. It teaches you to discern the differences between a good leader and one who needs improvement. Lastly, it can put you in the right mindset to lead, helping you develop resilience and self-awareness. Becoming a good leader means:

Becoming a Good Listener

Active listening skills help you better understand what the other person is trying to say. It includes listening to their words, noticing their body language, asking informed questions, and drawing conclusions about what you’ve just heard.

Managing Expectations

Every team member needs to have clear expectations of what’s required. As their leader, you can help them achieve this clarity by addressing them as a group, doing frequent progress checks, and following up on any problems.

Being Honest With Your Team

If your team expects honesty and transparency, you must lead by example and model these qualities yourself. Communicating proactively about the good and the bad goes a long way.

Seeking Mentorship and Growth Opportunities

Even as a leader, there will always be techniques to learn and knowledge to acquire that can drive your success. Being willing to learn from other leaders as you go is another indicator of a strong leader.

Advancing Your Skills With an MBA

When you’re ready to take the next step in your career, earning your Master of Business Administration in Management could be the right move. At Salem University, your MBA can be earned entirely online, providing the flexibility you need to attend classes while working. Additionally, it could prepare you to make upper-level management decisions, boost your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and afford you valuable leadership lessons that make you a more marketable employee.

We invite you to consider earning your degree at Salem University. Simply complete our convenient online form to request more information and get started today.

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