Any situation that calls for team work will bring either the best or the worst out of people. The composition of a team affects the success of the team and when personality types are not managed properly, it in turn inhibits their progress. People crave for a perfect team, filled with members who share a common personality. Inversely, there is a probability of having this team’s innovativeness and creativity affected due to lack of diversity. The geese story has embedded in it lessons for team personalities which we would be comparing with the different personalities in a team and how their personalities affect team growth.

The first personality I identified in the geese story is the head goose who leads the trail. Wherever he flies the rest of the geese follow in that line. The most important personality in every team is the leader. The kind of leadership a team has, to a greater extent, affects its achievements. It is the leader who directs the team towards achieving its goals. There is no doubt that a leader does not have all it takes to reach the top spot and at some point, he would need help from his followers. The head goose has an advice, especially to leaders who run out of ideas. When it is tired, it rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point. A leader, who recognizes the unique skills, listens proactively and knows how to delegate fosters great loyalty. The leader does not have all the knowledge in the world and so it is appropriate to take turns. A leader should be confident, focused, consistent and respect the views of all team members instead of getting power drunk, discouraging initiatives from team members.

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. There are team members who are very open whilst others may keep to themselves. Introverts may have very good ideas in mind but would hardly voice them out. When this happens, communication gets very difficult because it is hard to determine what could be running through their minds. It leaves other team members feeling uneasy thus eroding trust.  It is appropriate to at least acknowledge what is being heard, it would improve the communication within the group. If you remain reserved as a team member, your views would not be heard and this could affect the total progress of the team.

There are people with competitive energies and would always want to reign supreme in the group. I term them “The Big Egos.” When they are not managed properly, they can cause a huge stir in the group. It is appropriate to keep the whole group in shape and brew the spirit of equality amongst team members. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go alone — and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front.  This should be how each member of the group should feel when they try exhibiting their egos. Team members should stay in formation and work in harmony as equals.

Is it not a beauty to see geese flying along in “V” formation? That is the culture the geese have adopted to reach their goal. Science has discovered the reason behind this culture, as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following and by flying in “V” formation, and the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. It is appropriate to build a single culture as a team and encourage everyone to follow the values and norms of the team. People who share a common direction and sense of community can achieve their goals more quickly.

Trust is paramount in every team. Lack of trust can sabotage productivity. It is difficult to create a sustained environment of trust due to difference in opinion and personality. Note that a team that does not have trust between members makes innovation impossible and makes achieving ordinary expectations difficult. Unity exists where there is trust and team members can rely on each other for support.  When a goose falls out due to sickness or injury, two other geese fall out with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or it dies, and only then do they launch out on their own. It is best for teams to learn to trust each other so they can depend on each other during moments of despair.

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