Flamingo Management 101

In the work and life pond, Pink Flamingos and Brown Ducks can flock together famously and with fervour. The key is to understand these birds of a feather.

Pink Flamingos tend to be creative, integrative thinkers. In nature, the flamingo thrives in caustic environments.  In folklore, flamingos are associated with celebration.  Flamingos are colorful - in fact, the brighter the feathers, the healthier the bird. Flamingos are given to flash mob dances for reasons unknown. Pink Flamingos are outgoing, gregarious, creative and likeable.

Ducks, while capable of creativity and integration, tend towards linear progressions.  In nature, ducks enjoy comfortable environments, and in fact, migrate during the winter. In folklore, ducks are associated with sedentary objects, like decoys, book ends, kitchen gadgets and tub toys. Brown Ducks tend to be more conservative, predictable and linear.

In the work and life place, sometimes there are clashes between the creative thinkers - the artists, the writers, and the inventors - and the linear thinkers - the accountants, the project managers, and the number crunchers. Many a Brown Duck has asked the question: "what does the Brown Duck do with a gregarious, outgoing, creative employee who you just can't seem to control?"

Flamingos are exceptionally talented at adjusting to caustic situations which makes them incredible at managing change, managing people and dealing with difficult situations. This, combined with the Flamingo's gregarious nature, is a triple threat because not only will she get the job done, she will do it famously and with fervour, and people will love her.  

I know this, because I am a Pink Flamingo who has learned the language of the brown duck, and successfully navigated challenging situations, winning over the staunchest ducks around the board room table.

Admittedly, I have some inside knowledge on the Brown Duck psyche.  Some of my best friends and family members are members of the Brown Duck clan. I often joke that I was raised by a pack of Brown Duck accountants which has given me an appreciation for the linear-thinking kind of people that Brown Ducks tend to be.

When these two species communicate and respect each other, great things can be overcome. 

Let's face it though. In most corporate worlds, Brown Ducks own, and Flamingos rent. Brown Ducks set the rules, and Flamingos navigate rules. Brown Ducks dictate the terms, and Flamingos negotiate. Brown Ducks decide and Flamingos adjust. 

Flamingos can be terrifying to Brown Ducks who are victims of fearfulness, ego and need for control. 

The outgoing gregarious nature of the flourishing fowl, combined with creativity and the ability to make friends and influence people can be a problem in the wrong relationship. In a control based environment, the Flamingo can be viewed as the wild card that threatens the order and predictability of the controlling brown duck's pond. In these scenarios, the Flamingo is placed at risk when the fearful duck owns the pond.

In my experience, Brown Ducks who appreciate the power of the Flamingo are good leaders. They value the possibility of what can happen when people are allowed to be their best and accountable for their own results. Successful leaders also understand that power of human connection, creativity and communication and would not attempt to eradicate these qualities.  

Practiced Pink Flamingos know when to quack and when to dance in order to influence the rest of the pond.  So how do you know if you have a Pink Flamingo amongst your flock, if he or she is practiced in quacking appropriately?   

The truth is managers may not know if a Pink Flamingo walks among them.  But just in case, here are some tips for consideration:

1.  Never say no. The only response is how.  
2.  Do not micro mange.  Give them a well defined road with objectives and a clear understanding of what they are accountable for.  
3.  Learn to communicate.  If the Flamingo can learn to quack, then perhaps the brown duck can learn to dance a little. 
4.  Never underestimate the Pink Flamingo ability to navigate the environment or influence other people.  She is a master of making friends and influencing people. You will only end up looking like a tyrant if you try to control this person. 
5.  Never mistake beauty and friendliness for lack of intelligence.