Sitting on my front porch is something I enjoy more and more nowadays. Yes, I guess that does mean I am getting older. I find it fascinating to sit, watch, listen, think, and rest enjoying a glass of tea or lemonade in the afternoons or coffee in the mornings. The sound of the breeze as it bristles through the leaves of the trees, the sound of birds as they fly, perch on the tree limbs and make their noises, the smell of fresh-cut grass, and the smell of fresh rain as it cools the day. All these things begin to resonate into a peaceful, tranquility of getting older.

For the birds

Right off our porch, we have two bird feeders hanging in a crepe myrtle tree. Since school has been out for almost a month now, I found myself being drawn to our front porch and watching the birds come in to eat, wondering what birds will show up today. Our frequent visitors consist of cardinals, wrens, blue jays, a few woodpeckers, a few doves, others I do not know the name of, and my favorite – the unknown bird with a curved bill. What is even more amazing to myself, believe it or not, is that I actually have binoculars sitting on the table of our front porch so I can get a “closer” look at my new friends and their appetite.

As I have watched these birds, I have noticed a few similarities to leadership, and its effect toward all of us being creatures of habit.

When the wrens stop by, the entire family shows up. You know what happens next, they start fighting for a position at the table. Even when they nestle in, not all are happy. Often, you can see two of them go at it for what seems like something petty. When there are only two or three, everyone gets along for the most part. Nothing really changes when the cardinals stop by, but they do seem to hang out only with other cardinals. The blue jays are bullies and are aggressive from the start. They run everyone else off when they stop by except for the woodpeckers. The woodpeckers come in knowing they do not have to beat their brains in for food, and the doves just sit there cooing, glad they do not have to hear the noise of the woodpeckers.

Now about that curved-bill bird… Fat-bellied and takes up a lot of rim space. When he sits down, the feeder tilts to one side. I do not know how he stays so fat, all he does is walk around the rim, making everyone else leave. His “nose” is out of joint for sure. He just doesn’t seem happy and wants all the other birds to be unhappy also. He even runs the blue jays off. He definitely thinks he is large and in charge.

Funny thing is with all of this… Just like birds are creatures of habit, so are we as humans. As I sit and observe, I consider the fact that we can all identify with some, if not most of the above characteristics. There are those who “fight” their own kind for a seat at the table, and while we enjoy our family, a spat does happen from time to time. You can also see leaders who are aggressive and bully others and those who just want to stay with their kind (yes, birds of a feather do flock together). Many people make a lot of noise, just wanting to be heard, and some just sit and “coo” at everything that happens, good or bad. And yes, there are even the curved-bill people with their nose out of joint all the time, wanting everyone to be miserable because they are.

Admittedly or not, we are creatures of habit, even in leadership. The question that has to be answered is, “Are the leadership habits you have, good or bad?” My thought on bad leadership is just like the title of this blog… “For The Birds!”

Thanks again for reading.

©2019 J Clay Norton

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