Weaved into many of our programs, the Eagle appears as a symbol of exemplary leadership. But why do we use the Eagle? Throughout history and across religions, the Eagle has been a symbol of vision, courage and leadership.
In the Native American tradition, the Eagle carries messages between the gods and mankind; he represents wisdom and vision because of his lofty flight and keen eye sight. Flying at an altitude too high for other birds, the Eagle's powerful eyesight allows him to soar above the landscape and spot potential prey from a distance of over 500 feet. Once in sight, the Eagle never moves his focus from the target, no matter the obstacle.
Likewise, todays leaders must rise above the chaos, know where they are going and why. Leaders must be able to maintain a clear vision, remain focused and communicate big-picture strategy to the team.
In Greek, Roman, Germanic and other religions, the eagle is a symbol of strength and courage, often associated with the gods Zeus, Jupiter, and Odin. The Eagle is one of the only birds that love a storm. When clouds gather, eagles fly directly into the powerful updrafts of the storm to rise and are pushed up higher. Once it finds the right height, the eagle stops flapping and uses the pressure of the raging storm to soar and glide through the clouds. This gives the Eagle an opportunity to rest its wings. Meanwhile, all the other birds hide in the leaves and branches of the trees below.
Just as the Eagle uses the storm, Leaders must spread their wings and fly straight into the storm; using obstacles, challenges and taking risks to develop their team and grow the business. Leaders must relish the opportunity to face a challenge and use the experience to their advantage.
Prominently featured as a symbol of leadership in the United States, the Eagle appears as the national bird and in the flags and seals of the President, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Justice Department, Defense Department and others. Eagles are known for flying alone at high altitudes, protecting the sky and, if flying with others, only flying with other Eagles.
The takeaway is not that leaders fly solo, but rather that today's leaders must focus on developing others, separating them from the masses, and inviting them to soar alongside you. Paired with steady vision and unwavering courage, the Eagle personifies the best of what today's leaders strive to achieve.
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