Feeding The Birds To Seed Your Message

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to speak so that others will listen no matter how different their personality traits. Reading time: 3:34.

         Leadership is for the birds. The president of the company stepped out of his office and scanned the executive suite. “There are 12 vice presidents in this company and no two of them are alike,” he said to his visitor. “They’re all birds of a different feather.”

         Those birds of a different feather –that diversity in thinking and behaving —are the keys to success in today’s dynamic workplace. That’s why the most effective leaders leverage their behavioral differences. And the most effective leaders recognize and celebrate and adapt to the differences in their staffs. –birds of a different feather.

         Those birds, flying throughout your organization, are as different as eagles, peacocks, doves and owls. That’s why the most effective leaders know they have to feed these birds differently in order for them to all perch together on the same branch to achieve the intended goal.

         Leaders effectively adapting to the EAGLES on their staffs seek and celebrate evidence of proven results. Leaders effectively adapting to the PEACOCKS on their staffs seek and celebrate anecdotes that engage and personify. Leaders effectively adapting to the DOVES on their staffs seek and establish conformity. And leaders effectively adapting to the OWLS on their staffs seek and celebrate documentation. All four attributes –ambition, passion, integration and detail–are necessary to achieve success.

          How do leaders discern and adapt tp the differences in their birds ? They observe their different behaviors in routine matters. Let’s examine how differently each of these birds would record a voice mail answering message.



I ‘m not available right now. Leave a message. I’ll call you back.”


“Hey great to hear from you even though I am not here right now. I can’t wait to get back to you. Hope you have a super day.”


“Gee, I’m sorry I wasn’t here to get your call. I will call you back just as soon as I can.”


“Leave your number at the beep. You will have exactly 65 seconds from the sound of the beep.”


 Now let’s examine how differently each of these birds would behave while waiting for an elevator.


“Let’s go. C’mon. I haven’t got all day. Step on it.”


Hi, Bill. How about those (Sports team)? They were something last night. Say why don’t we have lunch later this week? Can’t wait to tell you who I am bringing to the party this weekend.”


“I could always take the stairs. It is only two flights up.”


“The elevator is on the 16th floor. It will take 45 seconds to get down here. I can walk the two flights up in 30 seconds. It is smarter to walk.”


 Imagine these four birds of a different feather waiting 40-minutes for table in a restaurant or playing golf together. Their behaviors would be vastly different.


“A 40-minute wait! Are you kidding? Let’s get out of here. I am not waiting 40 minutes for a table.”


“A 40-minute wait! Great! What a chance to check out the action in the bar. Hey, isn’t that Judy over there?”


“A 40-minute wait! Well, it could be even longer at that other restaurant. Why don’t we just make the best of it here.”


“A 40-minute wait. We are 9th on the reservation list. There are four tables right over there,  working on their desserts. I calculate that we will be seated in 33 minutes.”



“We’re next on the tee. Let’s go. I’ll swing away first. You guys keep an eye on the ball.”


“Hey, look over there on the 9th green. That’s Barbara. Haven’t seen her in a long time. She looks great. Remember the time Barbara….”


“There’s no one behind us. We can take our time. Maybe we can see Barbara in the clubhouse later.”


“Looks like we can finish 18 holes in less than 4 hours today. We should beat the rain by about 30 minutes at the rate we are playing.”

 Today’s ImproveMINT

Adapt your  speaking style to the way individuals prefer to process information to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

SUBSCRIBE: Have a Leadership Mint delivered to your E-mail every business day. It’s free. Just click the SIGN ME UP box in the upper left column.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.