4 Leadership Lessons From A 4 Year Old Playing Angry Birds Stella

Ideas, Leadership, Organization

Millions of people have played the game. Millions of people continue to play the game. I’m not one of those people. I have nothing against games and I have nothing against people who play them. I just choose not to play them. I know there can be benefits of playing games and they are more than just entertainment. It’s up to the people to figure out what. Depending the game, they can be a very educational element.

My daughter, Holly plays it! Angry Birds! My 4 year old is savvier on how to play it than I. Is that a bad thing? Most people may think that allowing young children to play games such as this is killing the engagement they have with real books and real games. There may be some truth to that, but as a parent, I’d never let that happen. My daughter has tons of books and she loves it when we buy more. She even likes comics!! And as a geeky parent, it makes me happy.

She has the Angry Birds Stella version. It’s suited for females, but for all. This version is basically a post cursor to the Angry Birds series. Stella, the main character has a few other friends in the game and each one has a specific skill in knocking out those pesky pigs. I won’t go into too much of the game because this lesson isn’t completely about the game; it’s about what my daughter taught me while she was playing the game.

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After traveling in a car for 3 hours, followed by a 2 hour flight, a 30 minute drive back home, and a quick trip to the book store to end the day, Holly grabbed her tablet and began playing Angry Birds Stella while I sat right next to her reading a book. Every few moments Holly would ask me to watch her play and I did. At one level she asked if I wanted to play. Even though, I don’t play the game, I know what the objective is. I shot the first bird, hit a few targets and then came to the point where I had to actually think how to knock out the rest. I shot my last bird, I failed! Holly said, “Let me show you how to do it.” Holly took a turn at the level again and she got past the point I couldn’t pass…and thus she reminded me of a few great lessons.

How did Holly show up her Daddy on this game? As the game has 5 bird characters each with a unique skill, we’ll call these 5 birds Holly’s team. Holly knew their skills and understood what each bird was capable of doing. She beat me, it, because she knew how to utilize the talent of her teammates. What I failed to do was utilize the right player. This level required the use of all team members, but at a specific time. Holly taught me that a leader must know the capabilities, skills, limits and understand what team member is best to complete the play. Collectively, the team can complete the goal, mission or task. Leaders know the limitations and capabilities of their team.

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On another note, she taught me that before you play the game, you must know how to play the game. I didn’t really know how to play the game; I just knew the overall objective. In this, you had to know specifically the mission or goal at hand. As a leader, you must know what you’re about to tackle especially with a team with various skills and talents. Leaders know the mission!

Like I mentioned, I knew the idea of the game, but Holly knew strategy. I didn’t have a strategy; I just took an attempt at slingshoting birds to ‘try’ to beat it. She knew which characters to use at certain times and as a result, she didn’t run out of birds to complete the level. I used up every one of them and still failed the level. The more information you have the better chance you have at accomplishing tasks, goals and the mission. Leaders must know strategy and must have a plan in place.

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Above all, at 4 years old, she taught me that even the people you’re leading can teach you a thing or two. It’s best to use any situation as a time to learn. Leaders learn from their followers, a lesson that I learned recently when a buddy of mine sent me, “If you’re not learning from your followers, you’re not leading.” It’s true. Leaders must trust that they do not know everything and that at times you may be the one who knows the least.

These lessons aren’t completely new to me or others, but the fact that a 4 year old could teach such lessons, it makes her Daddy proud, very proud. I challenge anyone to pay more attention to the younger generation, they’re teaching us things and they don’t even know it.

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Thank you, Holly for teaching Daddy a few leadership lessons!!

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