Leadership Lessons Learned From a Great White Egret


One Saturday morning, we discovered that a great white egret was stuck in one of our large oak trees, forty feet up.  Its leg was caught on a limb and it was struggling mightily to free itself.  We called every organization that could possibly help, and late in the day, finally located a tree trimmer who was willing to attempt a rescue using ropes and harnesses.  Sadly it was too late for the magnificent bird.

Leadership lessons:

  1. Nonchalance – How often do you take routine tasks for granted?  Had the bird paid closer attention to its landing, it may not have gotten its foot caught.
  2. Impatience – Do you sometimes push ahead and try to fix a problem quickly on your own, only to discover that you made matters worse?  By trying to free its leg, the bird ended up getting the other leg caught as well.
  3. Pride – Many leaders think they can solve problems on their own.  Even when others offer assistance, they turn it down.  The results are often less than ideal.
  4. Independence – Our bird was alone, even though egrets often roost together.  Perhaps another egret could have used its beak to help free the foot.  Often a team approach works best.
  5. Mentor – Sometimes you get stuck.  Who can you call for advice and assistance?

Great leaders are always growing.  What lessons are you learning from your experiences?

2 thoughts on “Leadership Lessons Learned From a Great White Egret

  1. How we forget that we are very successful primates who
    like your beautiful egret often cannot get out of harms way. Instinctive responses-flight or fight-take over when we face a challenging moment. Or we freeze, afraid to make a move. What if our egret had a team of others to help it at a moment of crisis? What if we could pause and see hope in those others trying to help us. The egret was a moment of reflection. thanks for sharing.

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