Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Seagull in the Mirror

A new friend of mine sent me "Squawk" by Travis Bradberry. My friend felt that it had hit her between the eyes and might have a similar impact with me.

Subtitled "How to stop making noise and start getting results," "Squawk" is a leadership fable about "how one seagull manager learned the three virtues of great leadership." Seagull managers swoop in, squawk loudly, dump orders with formulaic advice, and blow back out, leaving a mess in their wake.

The fable focused on three key elements to overcome seagull management:

Whereas the seagull manager creates the need to swoop in and set his team straight, the superior manager gets everyone headed in the right direction from the very beginning by ensuring that expectations are full-fledged. Whereas the rare visit from the seagull manager results in a lot of squawking, the superior manager maintains a steady flow of clear communication. And whereas the seagull manager manages his team's performance by dumping on everybody, the superior manager focuses on performance -- ensuring that positive and negative feedback are delivered in small, digestible doses.

The issue is not whether or not we are seagull managers. Rather we need to be able to recognize when we are acting like one...and what to do about it. Lord knows there are plenty of "squawking" seagulls in the military. I should know -- too often I have a tendency to blow in and start squawking and appreciated the chance to look into the mirror and see the seagull in me!

Check out the book. My friend was right -- not only did I enjoy the book but...I clearly needed to read it (thanks Angela!). If you have some seagull in you, pick it up. Overcoming seagull management is...Leader Business.


Anonymous said...

great post! thx for sharing this book!

Anonymous said...

I concur. SQUAWK! is a must-read for anyone in a management role. Let's stop SQUAWKing and get down to business. -Bruce Ming

Dina said...

I also was recommended "Squawk!" by a friend just last offense was taken! :) I have since picked up a copy for both my brothers who are just beginning their journeys into leadership and for my dad. It seems to be a hot topic right now, and for anyone with a job, it's no mystery why.

Susie said...

I've even applied the principles from Squawk! at home. Trying to coordinate tasks for the kids and husband and myself, I tended to "squawk" a lot of orders. After reading the book, I've really improved how I communicate and now organize the entire group to work together. What a great book!

Mitch said...

I just finished reading Squawk and writing about it myself. Easy read; took less than an hour. Good stuff.