I love to travel. After many years of international adventures I have finally learned it doesn’t really matter what your destination is. However, it absolutely matters who you travel with. Who you travel with really, really matters. Traveling with the wrong people can be exhausting.
The same truth applies in leadership.
Anyone who lives in the Midwest has at some point witnessed an amazing flock of geese migrating over our open skies. These flocks tend to fly in the shape of V with one bird leading the way. The lead bird has to work harder than all the other birds. The lead bird does not benefit from the aerodynamic wash-up that is created by a preceding bird. The birds who are not flying in the lead position are able to conserve energy while the bird in the lead position will become tired the fastest.
Most leaders can relate to feeling the pressure of leading the way. Flying into the unknown, head first into potential storms while fighting resistance can be physically and mentally exhausting.
The amazing thing about this flying pattern is the birds naturally take turns in the lead position. After a few minutes a bird who is not in the lead position will fly to the front to give the lead bird a rest! Many believe that if a flock failed to use this formation they would not survive a long migration route.
The healthiest cultures I have been a part of have mimicked this pattern. Great leaders empower others to take the lead. They do so knowing this is a way to develop future leaders. They also know that just because they are a leader it doesn’t mean they are able to lead the group 100% of the time.
So who’s in your flock? Who will you travel with in 2016? Are you surrounded by people who want to work together to reach a new destination? Are you allowing opportunities for others to step up and lead? Are you willing to admit that you need others to take the lead so you can rest and have more to offer later?
The journey is long. Pick your flock carefully.