Ducks and Peacocks

Watching ducks glide across the water is one of life’s simple pleasures. They make it look effortless and play it cool. But you know those webbed feet are churning below the surface.

Then there are peacocks, nature’s showoffs. They’re noisy, flamboyant and dramatic.  

Of course, people behave the same way. The ‘ducks’ among us show restraint and humility. They’re chill on the outside, but their brains are cranking. When they notch a win, they take it in stride.

Bill Gates is a duck. So is Jimmy Carter, Morgan Freeman and Volodymyr Zelenskyy. They could all cop an attitude. But they don’t. They just get business done.

And you never see them sweat.

At his peak, Eric Clapton’s concerts were transcendent. He stands still and never breaks character. But deep down, Slowhand is focused – and paddling like crazy.

Then there are peacocks. Folks who crave attention and love the limelight. Think Bono, David Lee Roth, Trump, and Kanye West. It’s all about them.

Showmanship is great – until the schtick overshadows the talent.
Here’s my take. I’m fascinated by two business titans who’ve been in the news. Both are wildly successful, but have polar opposite styles. Call them introverts or extroverts. But the great leaders are mission-driven, not ego-driven.  

Bob Iger got a hero’s welcome when he recently returned as Disney’s CEO. He’s known as a consensus-building ‘duck’ who keeps a low profile. Iger is a proven winner.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk is a swashbuckling peacock who is famously hard on his people. Then again, he was the richest man in the world (until the Twitter debacle).

In the end, the great ones command respect, not demand it.

Beau Phillips is President of Rainmaker Media. 
He’s a creative marketing consultant, strategist and speaker.
Reach him at 203-256-9347 

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