I once had an executive at one of my client companies refer to a management style as “seagull management”.  I had never heard of this, so I inquired as to what that meant.

I was told a seagull manager is a manager who swoops in, craps all over the place, and swoops out.  In other words, chaos lingers behind the seagull manager.  The seagull manager, in a very real fashion, inhibits the growth of their people and their organization.

A goose, on the other hand, is a manager who understands that progress is only achieved when geese fly in formation.  The leader of a flock of geese recognizes that its role is to make it easier for the rest of the flock to reach their destination.  The manager who behaves like a goose understands that part of the job is to teach other geese to be leaders.  That’s why, from time to time, the leader of the flock will drop back in the formation and allow another goose to lead the way and take the brunt of the air resistance for the rest of the flock.

This contrast between management styles frequently is the difference between sales success and sales mediocrity.  The next time you have a chance to observe a group of seagulls, compare and contrast their behavior with that of a group of geese.  Seagulls always operate from the point of view of “me”.  Seagulls will grab food out of the mouth of another seagull, they frequently squabble, and it looks as if no one in the group of seagulls is in charge.

Conversely, geese work cooperatively and are able to achieve hugely successful results through this philosophy and practice of collaboration.  Take a lesson from the birds.  When you have a choice between being a seagull or a goose, I recommend you behave like a goose.


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