The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Monday, May 10, 2010


Geese are structured and protective birds by nature – much like many supervisors and teachers that I’ve met. Leaders, trainers and educators tend to establish clear and concise expectations that must be followed in a defined manner to achieve anticipated results. Much like the choreographed motion within a flock of geese in flight, there tends to be a “time and place” for everything when others are led towards a common objective – a structure that produces results without allowing much individual variance.

What if we approached leadership more like motivating a flock of hungry gulls along an ocean shore, seeking to focus a “flock” mentality by providing immediate rewards for seemingly uncoordinated effort? If we were to concentrate more upon the goal (or the end result) than the road upon which we must travel, might not we be able to accomplish great things while orchestrating the seeming chaos of individual effort into an activity that satisfies the needs of the whole?

While some people will follow a leader in order to reach a goal, preferring the safety of the flock to mask their individuality, others would prefer to reach the destination through their own initiative. To lead effectively we must recognize this variance by charting a path and monitoring progress for the “geese” we lead that need direction and structure while providing an unlimited horizon for our “gulls” seeking an outcome through their individual efforts. A good leader often succeeds by accomplishing one or the other – a great leader accomplishes both!