The title of this post is borrowed from the famous sermon “The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest” by Rev. C. L. Franklin. In this sermon Rev. Franklin describes how the eagle builds a nest for its young with sticks and thorns but lines it with straw, leaves and down from its own body making the nest safe, soft and comfortable for the small eaglet. As the eaglets grow and mature into young birds the parent then begins to remove the soft items from the nest allowing the thorns to stick through making it more and more uncomfortable forcing the younger eagles to spread their wings and begin to fly leaving what use to be its “comfort zone”. Now the Reverend uses this analogy to explain why God allows difficulties to come into our lives which is to remind us to pray and to grow in our faith. I think this is also a great example of what we as Leaders need to do to help our team grow. Much like the eagle we have to provide a soft and safe place for our team to grow be there if they need help but then we have to make them do things that force them out of their comfort zones in order for them to mature and grow. There are seven keys to helping our followers “leave the nest”.
1. We have to be absolutely clear about what we expect from them. Clearly defined goals and guidelines are a must.
2. We have to make certain that these expectations “stretches” them and it’s just not an average. Remember average is where sucks starts.
3. We have to give quick sometimes brutal feedback. We have to care enough about our team to confront them if they are not following the processes or not meeting the stated expectations.
4. We have to hold them accountable. Like the young eaglet if it doesn’t fly right it will crash and burn with dire consequences. Our team has to know that if there are not desired behaviors and results there will be consequences for that unacceptable behavior.
5. We have to lead by example. Often our followers mimic our actions and not our words. It is difficult for a leader to hold their team accountable if they are not holding themselves accountable.
6. We have to be available to our team. In order to influence our team we have to engage them and not hide behind our desk or titles.
7. We have to be consistent. Discipline in our words, thoughts and actions will build a culture of character for our team.
As a Leader are there any of these areas that you need to get better at? Do your words and actions reflect these areas? Even as Leaders we have to leave our nests and comfort zones so that our teams can soar with the eagles.