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Beware the Seagull

Written by Mike Paton on May 28, 2015

EOS Leadership Team Implementers EOS Meetings IDS Management

Beware the SeagullMembers of healthy leadership teams are engaged, committed, and accountable for achieving the collective results of the organization. When I’m conducting a session with a room full of those people, it’s an energizing, productive and rewarding experience. When even one member of the team isn’t properly engaged, it‘s often a long, painful, unproductive day.

A Level 10 Meeting Is No Place for a Seagull

I call the people who ruin sessions and Level 10 Meetings “Seagull Managers.” Because they’re not engaged and accountable, they won’t fully own the company’s issues as their own. They won’t get in the muck with you and IDS a tough issue, owning the decisions and corresponding actions required to resolve the issue.

What seagull managers do instead is fly into a meeting, poop all over everything the team of fully committed leaders has done, then fly away to focus on their own needs and priorities. When that happens to an engaged, accountable leader, it feels awful, and it sucks all the energy and enthusiasm from the room. It actually feels a lot like being hit with bird poop.

How to Handle Seagull Managers

If someone on your leadership team behaves like a seagull manager from time to time, address that issue immediately. If they can’t help themselves and are unable to modify this behavior, you might have a “Right People, Right Seat” issue.

More often the seagull manager is someone who’s not a member of your leadership team; they’re participating in your meeting as an observer or adviser. It might be a board member, a consultant—even an owner who doesn’t work in the business day-to-day. While this can be a more delicate issue, it’s critical that you find some way to resolve the issue, preferably by removing the observer from the meeting.

A great meeting pulse serves the committed, engaged, accountable members of the team holding the meeting, not an observer. If your board members or owners want to participate in regular meetings, run great board meetings or owner’s meetings that serve their needs. Don’t weaken leadership team meetings by insisting they be held in a room full of one or more seagulls.

Next Steps


More Blog Posts: ← Are You a Heads-Down Leader? Leadership Lessons from the Cockpit | How Many Meetings Do I Need With Whom?!