Lead like a duck

Aaron Rosenberg

Aaron Rosenberg (IL '13), retail advertising manager, Courier-Journal

by Aaron Rosenberg, Ignite Louisville Class of 2013-

If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck it must be a…leader???

That was the preface to our Ignite Louisville program last Wednesday, December 5th. In a fun and introspective learning session conducted by Al Cornish, Norton Healthcare’s VP of Learning, my Ignite Louisville colleagues and I learned how the leadership competencies found in our feathered friends translated to our own professional development.

Hang with me now as I explain.

Al asked us to think about qualities displayed by ducks, which translated into qualities displayed by leaders. Here are some examples I believe fit the bill (yes, these puns are most definitely intended):

1)      Picture a mama duck with ducklings in tow or a formation of ducks coasting in a V formation through the air – Mama is the leader with babies right in line, a formation of ducks always has a leader out front and the other ducks rotate in and out as they fly to their destination. These actions portray the quality of leading by example and also exemplify leadership through teamwork and the importance of building a succession plan for future leaders.

2)      Ducks may seem calm, cool and quacklective on the surface but take a look underneath the water and what do you find? Furiously scrambling legs and webbed feet working frantically to keep the duck on top of the pond, looking serene. This provides a clear example of how a leader should display a sense of calm, especially in times of crisis, while underneath the surface they are scrambling and working harder than hell.

3)      Ducks are known for letting “water roll off their backs.” This is another example of how leaders need to be able to focus even in the midst of challenges. They need to stay dry, deflecting obstacles that rain down upon them.

Al not only entertained our group but taught us to look at ourselves and the leaders and mentors in our lives through a different lens, the lens of… a duck!