What is the perception of a good leader? Is it a lion – the king of the jungle? Someone that is strong, fierce and focused, but a lion is not easily approachable. A lion projects a powerful physical image of strength often with an incredible load roar, but would such a powerful force grow tiresome? Although a lion may project a stereotypical image of strength, a Duck has all the attributes of a good leader.
What is the most important emotion that a leader can instill in his/her team? A sense of confidence……confidence that the team can achieve what may initially be viewed as an unattainable goal……confidence that any unforeseen obstacle can be overcome……confidence as a result of the calm tone and environment created by the leader – even during times of incredible activity and stress. A leader may motivate, coach, train, and drive their team but the foundation of the team’s ultimate performance and success is their confidence in their leader.
With that said, how can a duck compare to a lion? It is important to first lose the focus (level of importance) society typically places on physical appearance. A lion is reactionary. A lion is primal. A lion will immediately attack or defend focused solely on the issue at hand. When a major problem is encountered; the fear, anger, or excitement is immediately witnessed by all. A lion cannot mask its emotions. A lion’s behavior is projected for all to see, but not a duck.
The demeanor of a duck rarely changes. Problems or obstacles run off a duck-like rain rolling off its feathers. When a duck is floating on the water, its pace will seemingly increase or decrease to avoid obstacles without notice. A ducks direction rarely travels in a straight line (whether it is in flight or on water), but regardless of the size, risk, or danger of the obstacle encountered the image that the duck projects is one of calm and focus.
How does the duck remain so calm regardless of the environment and/or situation? It doesn’t. It’s merely the projected image of the duck that appears calm. If you were to look underwater, you would see those legs paddling a mile a minute.
An effective leader projects an image of a duck. Problems and obstacles never shake the level of confidence – they simply roll off the back like water on a duck. Challenges may present themselves but the leader calmly paddles himself/herself around the challenge. The team is confident in their ability to succeed because their leader is confident – all the while that duck is exhausting all legitimate fears and anxiety as it is fiercely paddling underwater.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.