Be a Honker: Motivate Your Team to Achievement with Honks of Encouragement

The Sandhill Crane fill the skies in Southeastern Colorado twice a year, once on their way in and once on their way out. Their similarities to Snow Geese often confuse onlookers, and strangers alike. However, as any child in Southeastern Colorado will tell you, they’re two different birds!

But, we won’t tell the kids, because I have a point about their similarities.

Both the long neck cranes and white geese gather in Southeastern Colorado to graze the leavings of corn farmers and soak up the warm autumn sun as they move south for the winter. Both of them return at the first hint of spring, gather up more gleanings after a bitter winter, and find sustenance among the tall dried grasses of the prairies that surround small lakes on the Western Plains.

Neither leaves a straggler behind. Geese and Cranes travel in flocks that fly in a V formation. The irony is that both birds have learned certain values that make them unique.

Leadership is a community effort.

Geese and cranes rotate the bird at the point of the V to reduce stress on the lead bird. By rotating the position, everyone gets a chance to lead, nobody gets too tired, and the birds eventually get where they want to go.

Leadership must be strong.

In order to keep the flock moving, the bird in front must be able to withstand the turbulent of life and keep flying forward. The birds know storms will come, and they do, but the birds must keep flying in the direction of their destination. Strong leaders keep them going in the right direction.

Leaders need encouragement.

As the birds fly over, you hear this curious honking sound that keeps going as long as the birds are in flight. They honk to encourage each other. They honk continuously, no matter how long they are in flight, some of the birds are honking. When the leader drops out of formation, he honks too.

Only the leader of the flock is not honking. His energy is kept for flying.

I do want to point this out too. The leader stops honking when he’s leading. The reason for this is that he has to take time to listen to those following him to know where they want to go and that he’s going the right direction.

I want to encourage each of you to be an encourager. Set out each day to motivate others to accomplish their goals and you will accomplish your goals too.