Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Canadian Geese

What makes a good leader?

When I started working on my master's degree in the mid 1990's, the first (and favorite) class I took was called Educational Leadership.  As the name suggests, we learned about leadership styles.  Our teacher gave a homework assignment that has stuck with me all these years.  We had to answer this question.  "Do you want to be an elephant or a goose?"  At first it seemed like a silly trick question.  

I wasn't sure how to begin to answer that, but something kind of serendipitous happened that week.  My class at school read a story called Amy's Goose.  Although it's a fiction story, I was reminded enough about geese to begin to know how to answer the question.  Geese share the leadership role.  There's a reason they migrate all those miles in the shape of a V.  The goose at the head has to work the hardest.  After a time, he rotates to the back, and another flies up to take the lead for a while.  They work together.
After a little reading, I learned that when a poacher goes after elephants, he tries to kill the matriarch first.  Without her leadership all the other elephants panic and become easy targets.

I've never forgotten that analogy.  Although I may sometimes be bossy and controlling, I strive to be more like the goose and not only share the load, but surround myself with those willing to do their part when it's their turn.

This particular pair of geese, as well as their many friends, live beside the river that runs beside the fabulous restaurant called The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  They seem to be neither bothered by nor interested in the tourists that walk all around them every day.  

Visit an Etsy treasury (collection of art pieces) celebrating the these lovely birds.  Click on Wings Over Canada.  Then enjoy another collection that uses the most beautiful browns called Looking for Autumn.  Random Favorites that Speak of Fall is another great fall collection.

Original Oil Painting on 12"x 12" Wrapped Canvas

1 comment:

  1. Hello Helen:) What a wonderful story about leadership. You know that I've often wondered why they fly in a "V". Here they say that that there is frost on arrival. That is "Vorst" in duch.
    It reminds me of wheel riders who also change always with position of headers in a contest. I like your painting really beautiful! Very nicely done. My compliments:)