by Therese Johansson
Herring gull's leadership
Who are the leaders of the next generation of employees? In my opinion, it is primarily the parents who should take on the responsibility of leadership for the individuals they have decided to bring into the world, alternatively chosen to adopt.
We live on the west coast and here there are plenty of herring gull's, a beautiful animal that fascinates me, a lot. This summer I have observed the Herring gull and its "parenting". We live in a penthouse so we have them really near by, you could say. At first, their young scream and the journeys to and from the nest are many, to provide the new arrivals with food. The next step is that little down balls wander around on the ground, without the ability to use their wings. If, against all odds, I happen to walk near one of these down balls, their "parents" will come straight at me like a crashing airplane.
As the down balls develop, their wings will be able to carry them on their own hunting luck as well as give them their own ability to escape from, for example, nasty people, including their vehicles. The herring gull parenthood is gradually coming to an end and the downballs have developed abilities to independently take care of their own survival. This by their "parents" showing the way through their own actions and providing shelter and food as long as the new arrivals are unable to protect or feed themselves.
Leadership is influencing / showing the way
I'm not a parent myself, but I'm something of a geek about the magic of leadership. Something that I think about a lot is modern parenting and in what way it creates responsible and independent individuals who have their own ability to live and survive their lives? In many cases that I have seen, I feel that the umbilical cord is not cut, but instead the parents scream at the top of their lungs if their offspring does something that goes beyond the parents' own opinion and thinking. This can be good up to a certain age, but to learn to fly you need the courage to test your own flying skills, with the risk of failure.
The parenting of those days, where children and young people had to learn to help and work at a young age, must be tough but I know for sure if it is not better than curling your children, young people and even young adults.
It is today's children who are tomorrow's employees and then they should be ready to fly so they have the ability to live, survive and lead themselves by their own machine. As a parent, are you a leader enough to influence and show them the way so that they themselves have the courage to take their own steps on their journey through life?
It doesn't matter which creature we choose to be the leader of, we need to take our responsibility to act as a leader and show the way, regardless. When I was a young leader, I came to a new position and my then leader showed me the way to become an independent and responsible employee through the following steps:
- A close and supportive leadership that means taking the time to participate in meetings to give the employee support for development
- Give the employee the conditions to "try it himself", with regular coaching calls and follow-up on progress
- Give the employee confidence to have the courage to cope with the task independently, as well as start delegating heavier tasks, have fewer follow-ups
- "If I don't hear from you, you will complete your mission without supervision and I trust that you will come to me if you need support and encouragement. If I don't hear anything, everything is fine!". Regular meetings with the team.
If you look at the herring gull's leadership, it is not completely different from my former leader's leadership - both make their adepts ready to fly by gradually building up and developing the adept's ability to fly themselves.
What the leader does, the followers do - leadership is contagious
An example I experienced up close is when a friend of mine wanted their children to have a healthier approach to food. Their car at the time was full of candy wrappers and empty soda bottles, so I curiously asked what changes they were going to make so that their children would make the changes they wanted.
The wonderful thing is that my friend, motivated by the love for their children, completely changed their life. Their desire was for their children to take better care of themselves. Today, both the friend and their oldest child nibble on vegetables and fruit, while still indulging in sweets and snacks. The focus is always on making progress towards the goal.
Being a healthy and happy being that in turn spreads positive vibes and at work the effect is that you contribute to a good work environment!
What the leader does, the follower does - you show the way through your own actions - how do you want the next generation of employees to be!
Nordic Leadership Center Humanship & Leadership, Therese Johansson