Eagle, Duck, Turkey, or Vulture – How Do You Fly as a Leader?

Leaders come in several types of feathers.  

Ducks are cute but paddle around in circles, turkeys don’t fly so good, and vultures are hated. 

Eagles, on the other hand, fly high.

It’s how it is. A few leaders are like eagles – soaring and inspirational. Many are like ducks – benign, likable, appear calm on the surface but are paddling like hell under the surface to survive. Some (unfortunately too large a group) are the turkeys – clueless and gobbling a lot. And then there are the vultures who only serve themselves and can do a lot of damage.  

Given these birds, it’s no wonder that the most common reason people leave their job is because of their immediate boss.  

Not enough eagles!

How do you think your people would describe you – which bird would they assign to you?      And why? What actions on your part qualify you to be that bird?

Unfortunately, based on the odds, you are likely to be a duck or a turkey. Sad, but true.  

Fortunately, nobody is all one kind of bird – we are a combination of all four depending on the circumstances.  We can develop the more desirable traits and let go of the negative ones.

So, there is good news. Ducks and turkeys can become eagles. (Rarely, if ever, do vultures morph into anything better.) It will take some work, but here are the steps toward becoming an eagle:

  • Decide you want to be an eagle. It all starts with a clear decision that you want to be a more effective, inspiring leader – the type people admire and want to follow.
  • Get some feedback. How are you viewed? In what ways are you seen as an eagle and in what ways are you a duck? It’s very helpful to find someone who is willing to hold up a mirror for you.
  • Get a mentor / support. Find an eagle, someone you and others respect and admire. Observe them and learn from them.
  • Practice, practice, practice. As a leader you will always be learning, growing and working on something. Expect to always be improving your flying skills.
  • Pick one thing to work on. Don’t approach this globally. Break it down and take bite-sized action.

Action Step:  What is one thing you could do that will help you fly higher – what will make you a better leader? Do that thing today.  

Get started now – and soar!

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