Philip Yancey made an interesting observation. “It’s easy to see why people like the sea gull. I’ve sat overlooking a craggy harbor and watched one. He exults in freedom. He thrusts his wings backward with powerful strokes, climbing higher, higher until he’s above all the other gulls, then coasts downward in majestic loops and circles. He constantly performs, as if he knows a movie camera is trained on him, recording.
“In a flock, though, the sea gull is a different bird. His majesty and dignity melt into a sordid slough of in-fighting and cruelty. Watch that same gull as he dive-bombs into a group of gulls, provoking a flurry of scattered feathers and angry squawks, to steal a tiny morsel of meat. The concepts of sharing and manners do not exist among gulls. They are so fiercely competitive and jealous that if you tie a red ribbon around the leg of one gull, making him stand out, you sentence him to execution. The others in his flock will furiously attack him with claws and beaks, hammering through feathers and flesh to draw blood. They’ll continue until he lies flattened in a bloody heap.”
If we must select a bird to serve as a model for our society the sea gull is not the best choice. Yancey has suggested that we consider the behavior of geese, instead. Have your ever wondered why these remarkable birds fly in “V” formation? Science has recently learned that the flock actually travels up to 71 percent faster and easier by maintaining this pattern. The goose on the point of the “V” has the most difficult assignment, resulting from greater wind resistance. Thus, that lead position is rotated every few minutes in the air, which permits the flock to fly long distances without rest. The easiest flight is experienced at the two rear sections of the formation and, remarkably, the strong geese permit the young, weak, and old birds to occupy those less strenuous positions. It is even believed the constant “honking” of the flock is a method by which the stronger birds encourage the laggards. Furthermore, if a goose becomes too tired or is ill and has to drop out of the flock, he is never abandoned. A healthy bird will follow the ailing one to the ground and wait with him until he can continue in flight. This cooperation within the social order contributes greatly to the survival and well-being of the flock.… There are times it seems our society consists of 200 million solitary sea gulls, each huffing and puffing to do his own thing, but paying an enormous price in loneliness and stress for his individuality.(1)
What a tragedy it would be if the only creatures you find in the work place are seagulls and not geese.
Give someone a well-deserved increase and see how the other sea gulls react.
Promote someone to a higher position and notice how the other sea gulls would begin to move into their battle formation.
How hard it is to let people know that it is not their business to mind other’s business but their own.
How harder it is for people to know that the mark of a great person is in his or her ability to rejoice with another person’s success.
The winning company is always a company whose people know and understand teamwork.
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says: “You cannot succeed by yourself. It’s hard to find a rich hermit.”
And Patricia Fripp says: “A team is a group of people who may not be equal in experience, talent, or education but in commitment.”
And what does the Bible have to say about this?
Speaking to believers, the apostle Paul says: “This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we commanded you before. As a result, people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others to meet your financial needs.”
I guess for those who are sea gull types of people in the work place the only good thing for them is this: leave them out in the ocean and watch them fly – maybe forever?
(1) James Dobson, The Strong-Willed Child