Characteristics of an Eagle: Eagle from time immemorial has been a paradigm that people use to explain excellence.
Though it belongs to the world’s largest birds of prey, it has its own outstanding characteristics that make it mostly talked out.
The eagle has been revered as a symbol of freedom, beauty, courage, honour, bravery, pride, grace and determination, transcendence and power.
It is even believed that the ones that soar very high touch God’s face. Legend holds that Mexico’s Aztecs so revered the birds that they built Tenochtitlan, their capital, at the spot where an eagle perched on a cactus.
Ever wondered what makes this bird so important and symbolic to humanity? Below is the answer to your question.
Here are the amazing characteristics of an eagle.
Characteristics of an Eagle as Applied to a Leader
Below are seven globally accepted characteristics of the eagle associated with leadership and three added characteristics that you must take to heart.
1. Eagles are guarded by set visions
The first, out of the many characteristics of an eagle is its vision.
If you ever happen to see an eagle sitting high above the tree or cliff of a stiff mountain, watch closely and see how attentive the bird is. The body sits still and the head will be tilted side to side to observe what is happening below, around and above it.
Even if it’s flying close by, you can observe how keen its eyes are looking for its prey.
Eagles have a keen vision. Their eyes are specially designed for long-distance focus and clarity. They can spot another eagle soaring from 50 miles away.
Does this characteristic ring a bell in your mind? I am sure it does.
Look at the great leaders of this world who have come and gone. There are many great leaders that came and went but one characteristic that is common in all is “vision”.
Vision is essential for successful leadership.
Take Abraham Lincoln for example. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, guided his country through the most devastating experience in its national history – the civil war. He had a vision, to save the union and free the slaves. He is considered by many historians to have been the greatest American president.
You must have a vision that guides and leads your team toward the organization or societal goals. The vision must be big and focused.
A big, focused vision will produce big results.
2. Eagles are strong-willed and not fearful
Another great characteristic of the eagle is its strong will and courage.
An eagle will never surrender to the size or strength of its prey. It will always give the fight to win its prey or regain its territory.
Try and watch the video on how the Golden Eagle displays its remarkable hunting strategy, preying on goats much larger than itself by throwing them off the cliff face.
To be a successful leader, you need to be strong and courageous.
No matter what the size of the obstacles facing you, you should attack them without thought or fear.
3. Eagles are tenacious beings
Tenacity is another wonderful characteristic of an eagle.
Watch an eagle when a storm comes. When other birds fly away from the storm with fear, an eagle spreads its mighty wings and uses the current to soar to greater heights.
The eagle takes advantage of the very storm that lesser birds fear and head for cover.
Challenges in the life of a leader are many. These are the storm we must face as leaders to rise to greater heights.
Like an eagle, a leader can only rise to greater heights if he takes up the challenges head-on without running away from them. This is yet another leadership characteristic.
4. Eagles are High Aimers
Eagles can fly up to an altitude of 10,000 feet, but they are able to swiftly land on the ground.
At 10, 000 feet, you will never find another bird. If you find another bird, it has to be an eagle.
An eagle doesn’t mingle around with the pigeons.
Dr Myles Munroe once said that “pigeons scavenge on the ground and grumble and complain all day long. Eagles are not. They fly and make less noise waiting for opportunities to strike their next prey or glide with the current of the storm.”
Great leaders are problem solvers. They don’t complain as the pigeons do. They love to take challenges as the eagle does when the storm comes.
5. Eagles Never Feeds on Dead Matter.
An eagle never eats dead meat. In other words, an eagle does not scavenge. It only eats the meat from the prey it kills itself.
Eagles eat raw and fresh meat. What a great act of true leadership.
A true leader spends time with people who are vibrant and liberal in thinking. You have to be with people who can think, make informed decisions and take action.
These are the people who bring changes to society. They are lively and active people. Go out and look for them.
According to Tony Buzan, a proponent of the techniques of mind mapping and mental literacy, these types of people are called change thinkers and change-makers.
There is a saying that goes like this: “people you hang around with and the books you read eventually determine the person you become.”
6. Eagles possess Vitality
Eagles are full of life and are visionary but they find time to look back at their life and re-energize themselves. This happens at about the age of 30.
What happens is that when the eagles reach the age of 30, their physical body condition deteriorates fast making it difficult for them to survive.
What is really interesting is that the eagle never gives up living, instead, it retreats to a mountaintop and over a five-month period goes through a metamorphosis.
It knocks off its own beak by banging it against a rock, plucks out its talons and then feathers.
Each stage produces a re-growth of the removed body parts, allowing the eagle to live for another 30 – 40 years.
There are times in your life as a leader that you must look back and take stock of your life. The good and the bad experiences you have been through as a leader. Are you keeping in trend with the current knowledge trend? Do you need to improve certain areas in your life as a leader?
Great leaders are the ones that always do “check and balance” of their personal and professional lives and make an effort to learn things every day.
7. Eagles nurture and mentor their young ones
Another great characteristic of the eagle is its ability to nurture and mentor its young.
Eagles are strong and daring but what is more astonishing with this bird is their ability to nurture their young ones.
Research has shown that no member of the bird family is more gentle and attentive to its young ones than the eagles.
This is how it happens. When the mother eagle sees that time has come for it to teach the eaglets to fly, she gathers an eaglet onto her back, and spreading her wings, flies high. Suddenly she swoops out from under the eaglet and allows it to fall.
As it falls, it gradually learns what its wings are for until the mother catches it once again. The process is repeated. If the young is slow to learn or cowardly, she returns it to the nest and begins to tear it apart, until there is nothing left for the eaglet to cling to. Then she nudges him off the cliff.
True leaders are not bosses. They grow with their people. Also, great leaders strive to make individuals in the organization or society grow to their full ability. They teach and guide just like the mother eagle does. They never stop giving challenges but never give up empowering and directing.
8. Eagles Flock Together
When they mix with other birds, they are there to find something to eat and then take off.
As the old saying goes, “Birds of like feathers flock together.” Eagles do not mix with other birds but only enjoy flying at their high altitude.
It is this characteristic that makes eagles unique birds.
9. Eagles Test Before Trusting
The female eagle during courtship always takes a male eagle into the air after picking up a twig from the ground and dropping it from a certain height for the male to chase it.
Once the male catches hold of it and brings back, the female flies to a higher altitude and drops it in the same way. This is repeated until the female gets an assurance that the male has mastered the art of seriously picking up the twigs in real love and affection.
Once they get hooked up in trust, the father and the mother eagle mate for life. They also work together as parents.
What a great characteristic and example for leadership.
10. Eagles are patient during growth
When eagles get older and weak because of worn-out feathers, which slow down flight speed and manoeuvres, the eagles retire away to the rocks and will pluck all their old feathers until it is completely bare.
It waits until a new set of feathers grows and comes out of his body. It stays in the hiding place until all the new feathers come back to make it fly dynamically and royally again without much effort or toil.
This happens at about the age of 30.
The eagle teaches us patience and perseverance. Leaders must have this essential quality for effectiveness.
Having considered these characteristics of an eagle and the lessons we can learn from them, it is pertinent that we strive to be the best that we are created to be.
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