Eagles can teach us a few things about leadership. We take a look at the leadership lessons that our eagle friends would love to tell us about if they could.
What is it about eagles that make us associate this majestic bird with leadership qualities?
The bald eagle is, for example, America’s national bird. We use the bird to convey our leadership positioning in the world. In the Boy Scouts, the top scout ranking is that of the Eagle Scout.
If you think about it, it makes sense that the eagle is a symbol of strong leadership.
Eagles live on top of lofty mountains. Just as a leader is at the peak of an organization, an eagle sits atop the highest points in the natural world.
The eagle soars high above when it is hunting. This is a good leadership lesson. To be effective, leaders must have vision. They must be able to see things that others cannot. They cannot get mired in the details and must soar above the minutiae of running the business. At the same time, like an eagle, they must occasionally swoop down and get hands on with the business.
Eagles, like good leaders, are bent on self-improvement. An older eagle will tear out its older feathers to maintain its flying abilities. This is quite painful, but the eagle knows that it cannot rest on its laurels. So too, a good leader knows that he must set an example for his organization and engage in a continuous exercise of self-improvement.
During winter months when prey is scarce, eagles sometimes scavenge on carrion to supplement their diet. Is there a leadership lesson in this otherwise fairly disgusting trait? You bet. A good leader will do whatever it takes to succeed. On occasion, a leader must do unpleasant things. It’s part of the job.
Finally, it is interesting that bald eagles lay two, occasionally three, eggs that are incubated by both parents, in turns for 34 to 36 days. It’s noteworthy that the eagles take turns building up the next generation. It is a good lesson for leaders. You can’t do it alone. You need to get the team involved. And, importantly, you need to constantly be thinking about raising the next generation of good leaders from within your company.
I have learned much of this through servant leadership in church, Joyce Meyers Ministry as well. She has a series on the Eagle, excellent. Below is an article I found, as well as the source.
The 7 Characteristics Of An Eagle And Why They Are Lessons For Good Leadership by Built2last: 5:42pm On Dec 29, 2012
1. Eagles Have Vision
If you ever happen to see an eagle sitting high above the tree or cliff of a stiff mountain, watch closely and see how attentive the bird is. The body sits still and the head will be tilted side to side to observed what is happening below, around and above it. Even if its flying close by, you can observe how keen its eyes are looking for its prey. Eagles have a keen vision. Their eyes are specially designed for long distance focus and clarity. They can spot another eagle soaring from 50 miles away.
Does this characteristic ring a bell in your mind? I am sure it does. Look at great leaders of this world who have come and gone. There are many great leaders that came and went but one characteristic that is common in all is “Vision”. Vision is a successful leadership characteristic
Take Abraham Lincoln for example. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, guided his country through the most devastating experience in its national history, the Civil War. He had a vision, to save the union and free the slaves. He is considered by many historians to have been the greatest American president.
You must have a vision that guides and leads your team towards the organization’s or societal goals. The vision must be big and focused. A big, focused vision will produce big results.
2. Eagles are fearless
An eagle will never surrender to the size or strength of its prey. It will always give a fight to win its prey or regain its territory.
No matter what the size of that person or what weapon they maybe holding, you would attack them without thought or regard for yourself. It wouldn’t even dawn on you to be afraid because your instinct is to protect that which you love and cherish.
Successful leaders are fearless. They face problems head on.
3. Eagles are Tenacious
Watch an eagle when a storm comes. When other birds fly away from the storm with fear, an eagle spreads its mighty wings and uses the current to soar to greater heights. The eagle takes advantage of the very storm that lesser birds fear and head for cover.
Challenges in the life of a leader are many. These are the storm we must face as leaders to rise to greater heights. Like an eagle, a leader can only rise to greater heights if he takes up the challenges head on without running away from it. This is yet another leadership characteristic.
4. Eagles are High Flyers
￼￼￼Eagles can fly up to an altitude of 10,000 feet, but they are able to swiftly land on the ground. At 10, 000 feet, you will never find another bird. If you find another bird, it has to be an eagle.
Great leaders are problem solvers. They don’t complain like the pigeons do. They love to take challenges as the eagle does when the storm comes.
5. Eagles Never Eat Dead Meat
An eagle never eats dead meat. In other words, an eagle does not scavenge. It only eats the meat from the prey it kills itself. Eagles eat raw and fresh meat What a great act of true leadership.
A true leader spends time with people who are vibrant and liberal in thinking. You have to be with people who can think, make informed decisions and take actions. These are the people who bring changes to the society. They are lively and active people. Go out and look for them.
According to Tony Buzan, a proponent of the techniques of Mind Mapping and mental literacy, these type of people are called change thinkers and change makers.
There is a saying that goes like this: “People you hang around with and the books you read eventually determines the person you become.”
6. Eagles posses Vitality
There are times in your life as a leader that you must look back and take stock of your life. The good and the bad experiences you have been through as a leader. Are you keeping in trend with the current knowledge trend? Do you need to improve your certain areas in your life as a leader?
Great leaders are the ones that always do “check and balance”of their personal and professional lives and make an effort to learn things every day.
7. Eagles Nurture their younger ones￼￼
Believe this or not. Eagles are known for their aggression. They are absolutely ferocious aren’t they? Any one who doesn’t have a total knowledge of this great bird will say yes. What is more astonishing with this bird is their ability to nurture their young ones. Research has shown that no member of the bird family is more gentle and attentive to its young ones than the eagles.
This is how it happens. When the mother eagle sees that time has come for it to teach the eaglets to fly, she gathers an eaglet onto her back, and spreading her wings, flies high. Suddenly she swoops out from under the eaglet and allows it to fall. As it falls, it gradually learns what its wings are for until the mother catches it once again. The process is repeated. If the young is slow to learn or cowardly, she returns it to the nest, and begins to tear it apart, until there is nothing left for the eaglet to cling to. Then she nudges him off the cliff.
True leaders are not bosses. They grow with their people. They strive to make individuals in the organization or society grow to their full ability. They teach and guide just like the mother eagle does. They never stop giving challenges but never give-up empowering and directing