Autumnal Thoughts on Leadership

geeseI saw a flock of geese flying in their traditional V-shaped pattern this weekend, a common scene in autumn as they migrate south for the winter. One bird at the front determines the path of the entire group, while each individual stays in formation as they trek across the horizon. The actions of each affect both the individual and the group. In fact, in order to travel such a great distance, the birds must monitor and adjust their flying position and even coordinate wing flaps to take advantage of lift created by others (Yong, 2014). Occasionally, one may also accelerate and assume the role as leader for a time and then fall back to be replaced by another. Without each other, wind resistance and other obstacles would make this journey an impossible feat for a single goose to accomplish. Each member of the community serves a critical role as the group seeks to accomplish the goal together.

Humans were designed to live in community, too. Whether that community takes the form of a family, friend group, neighborhood, tribe, church, school, organization, or county, we are naturally drawn together by geographic factors and common interests to pursue something greater than ourselves. Where community does not exist, we find it. The flock of geese – albeit a somewhat overused analogy for leadership – serves as a powerful description of leaders and followers in any community. A leader sets and effectively communicates the vision for the group and begins them on their journey. He or she then creates a sense of urgency and encourages buy-in by empowering others in the organization to become active parts in making the changes a reality. Followers even assume positions of leadership to assist with situations for which they have expertise, and then fold back to the group when it is accomplished; just as a flock of geese, the group becomes a gathering of individuals working in sync to reach their destination. One person cannot do it all, but each person united behind a vision makes reaching the ultimate goal possible.


Yong, E. (2014, January 15). Birds that fly in a V formation use an amazing trick. Retrieved from
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