Play Angry Birds if You Want to Know Leadership?

Well, it had to happen.  I received an email advertising a series of papers, HR Lessons from Angry Birds.  It seems that what or whoever becomes famous will sooner become the subject of a leadership book. In this case I wonder if reading such makes the fans of Angry Birds feel less guilt from spending hours playing a game of “see how many things you can knock down with a slingshot.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I have played Angry Birds. My seven year old grandson put it on my phone. However, after playing it several times, I did not feel like a better leader, nor did I extrapolate any leadership lessons from my poor play. One of the things written in the email that caught my attention was the statement, “A great manager needs the skills to manage 'combinations' more than 'people', and the skills to plan for the short term and long term development of these combinations.”  If this is true I guess the next book will be from Billy, the goat herder, called Leadership lessons learned from herding the smelly creatures. Managers manage the behaviors of individuals as a means of accomplishing some worthy business outcome. 

I don’t know how you manage a “combination.”  If you understand the science of behavior you know how to manage one or ten thousands of individuals, and at the same time.  If you have free time, spend it on learning the science. I will not bore you with the other nine lessons. They are no more or less profound. My conclusion is that you will learn as much about leadership watching birds on a power line as you will from reading these papers. Here is a lesson that will serve you well at work and at play:  When you finish your work, or tasks at home, then and only then play Angry Birds, if it suits your taste. If not follow the accomplishment with something you do enjoy. You will get more done, play more and feel better about both.



Posted by Aubrey Daniels, Ph.D.

Aubrey is a thought leader and expert on management, leadership, safety and workplace issues. For the past 40 years, he has been dedicated to helping people and organizations apply the laws of human behavior to optimize performance.