The Thoughtful Leader

Tag Archives: Shared Leadership

Who leads the Canada geese?

On a cold grey day last week I heard the unmistakable honking of Canada geese overhead and looked up in time to see a ragged V flapping rapidly through the clouds in a northerly direction. There were perhaps 30 geese – 15 on each side – pushing the wind aside with strong wide-arced sweeps of their wings. Of course I looked instantly for the lead goose at the apex of the V, the top goose, the one with all the best leadership traits who knew where they were going, and would pull all the others along to springtime in Canada. But as I gazed high into the sky, the lead goose gave way and another, apparently equally strong, moved into the lead, and then another and another. The V kept going dead-eye north, but the leadership kept changing. Apparently they all knew where they were going, and each goose was both self-defined and a collaborative member of the larger V. Anxious times for Canada geese as the season changes and they need to look for forage and nesting places in the north. But they looked pretty calm and clear to me about where they were headed, and their honking had a celebratory sound.
Katharine Gratwick Baker