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5 Leadership Lessons from Mama Duck and Her Ducklings

Every once in a while, you stumbled on some hilarious YouTube video involving kids or kittens or in my case, ducklings. Okay, so these days, maybe it's not "every once in a while" as much as it is "very often" thanks to everyone sharing everything. The video I recently saw had some obscure leadership lessons that I wanted to share. Yes, of course there are leadership lessons from watching ducklings go up stairs.

You ready? Okay, check out this video first: Ducklings vs. Stairs

Pretty hilarious, and yet, so cute... and so much to learn
Note: when you reach the bottom of this article (read it, don't just scroll!), I'll treat you to another hilarity by ducklings (in the wind). However, no leadership lessons I'm drawing from that one.

Let's just do as ducks do, dive (or jump) into it:

  1. Perseverance. Okay, this was easy, but it's only easy to point out because it's so important. How often do you think you've approached a seemingly "impossible" task, only to give up short of success?
  2. Learn from your failures. Goes hand-in-hand with the preceding, but you can see the ducks constantly probe different parts of the stairs, and even try areas where another duckling had success. 
  3. Let your flock fly! Clearly, Mama Duck could see her little ones struggling. However, she patiently stood atop the stairs waiting. Sometimes, as a leader, you gotta step back and let the little ducklings do their thing.
  4. Ducks quack together. The line in Disney's Mighty Ducks was "ducks fly together", but seeing as the ducklings here aren't flying, need to adapt it. When you watch the video, see how the ducklings follow each other and even quack at each other like motivation? Ducks quack, flock, fly together, even at a young age. Okay, except for maybe the last duckling. Poor guy.
  5. Sometimes, there's no getting around the challenge in front of you. Ah, highly applicable, I think, for entrepreneurs and startups especially. The challenge in front of is... actually, there are many. Cutting corners or trying to find a way around some challenges just isn't going to cut it. I've found that sometimes, you gotta find your way THROUGH it, or in the ducklings' case, get over it.
So, it would have been an interesting leadership observation had none of the ducklings made it. What would Mama Duck do?

Okay, as promised, here's another duckling video just for your fun today. It's pretty hilarious, and in some (many) ways, I feel terrible for laughing: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEBLt6Kd9EY


If you enjoyed watching these little ducks go, you should check out this one. Not many lessons here other than "in high wind, reduce your drag coefficient... and don't be a duck".

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