As I stood watching the turkey vultures that are endemic to most of North America gliding in their circles in search of a meal, something occurred to me for the first time. Although they may look like they are practicing for the Blue Angels, their circles are in sync because they are riding the same wind- and for the same reason.
The wind and air currents, along with their knowledge of terrain and territory, influence their decisions about where and how to glide. Although the birds to not operate as a team, they are on similar errands and do live in communities. The wind has no agenda- it is just blowing and changing as heat and pressure dictate. As such, the swallow or sparrow trying to return to a nest against a strong wind may feel defeated when nothing is purposely blocking his way. Either way, the wind has impact on the experience of those for whom it is a major force. The same can be said for the impact that leaders have on environment, intended or not.
Astute leaders understand the importance of environment, and their role in creating/ sustaining it. Not only the physical environment, but the attitudinal and emotional environment in which their teams and staff operate. Understanding the environment a leader creates can provide rich returns. And sometimes, creating an environment to encourage the behavior you desire in a team is a stronger influence than directive instruction.
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