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5 Positive Leadership Traits People Can Learn From Eagles

Ian has been an online writer for over seven years. His work focuses on everything from dating advice to business leadership.

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

For centuries, these seemingly larger-than-life birds have fascinated and inspired us with their brilliant leadership characteristics. When eagles come to mind, people commonly imagine an enormous hunter soaring above wide-open spaces on outsized wings.

Indeed, eagles are among the world’s largest birds of prey. We venerate them as living symbols of power, freedom, and transcendence. In some religions, these creatures are believed to touch the face of God. Legend holds that Mexico’s Aztec civilizations so revered the birds that they built Tenochtitlan, their capital, at the spot where an eagle perched on a cactus.

For centuries, people have seen eagles as a symbol of beauty, bravery, courage, honour, pride, determination, and grace. This bird is important and symbolic to humanity because of its characteristics. Here are five important characteristics of the eagle that have been closely associated with leadership.

Leadership Qualities of Eagles

  1. Eagles have powerful vision.
  2. Eagles are fearless.
  3. Eagles are tenacious.
  4. Eagles are high flyers.
  5. Eagles nurture their young.

1. Eagles Have Powerful Vision

If you ever see an eagle sitting high above on a cliff or atop a tree, watch closely and see how attentive the bird is. The body will be still and the head tilted side to side to observe what is happening below, around, and above it. Even if it's flying, you can observe how keen its eyes are, looking for its prey.

The Scientific Facts

  • Eagles have extremely powerful vision.
  • The eyes of an eagle are specially designed for long-distance focus with clarity.
  • The eagle's eye is one of the strongest in the entire animal kingdom (four to eight times stronger than that of the average human).
  • An eagle is able to spot a rabbit 3.2 km away.
  • An eagle's eyes are roughly the same size as those of a human. In fact, as an eagle descends to attack its prey, the muscles in its eyes continuously adjust the curvature of the eyeballs in order to maintain sharp focus throughout the approach and attack.
  • Their eyes are stated to be larger in size than their brain (by weight).
  • The most noteworthy features of eagles' eyes are color vision, high resolution, and clarity.

How These Traits Bring You Success in Your Career

Even if it's flying, you can observe how keen its eyes are, looking for its prey. The eagle teaches us to remain patient, but ever-present, always keeping our eyes to the future, while not forgetting to take note of our present surroundings. When opportunity strikes, you'll need to be the first one to see it and you'll need to move fast. Have a profound vision for your future and constantly remind yourself to stay focused.

How These Characteristics Make You a Better Leader

Does this leadership characteristic ring a bell for you? I am sure it does. Look at great leaders who have come and gone in the world and you'll see that they share the characteristic of eagle-like vision, with the ability to both see reality clearly as it is in the present, as well as make accurate predictions about the future.

You must have a vision that guides and leads your team towards the organization's or society's goals. The vision must be big, as well as focused. A big, focused vision will produce big results.

Example of a Great Leader With This Quality

Abraham Lincoln: 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 cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.

— Abraham Lincoln

2. Eagles Are Fearless Hunters

An eagle will never surrender to its prey, no matter its strength or size. It will always put up a fight to win its prey or regain its territory. Golden Eagles are such remarkable hunters that they can prey on goats much larger than themselves by throwing them off the side of a cliff. We can learn a lot from the eagle's determination.

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The Science

  • The talons, or claws on an eagle's toes are curved and razor-sharp for catching and holding their prey.
  • These large toes gave eagles the name raptor, which comes from a Latin word "rapere" meaning to grip or grasp.
  • The rough bumps on the eagle's toes help them hold slippery, wiggling prey, like fish.
  • The long talons can inflict serious wounds to intruders.
  • Their diet consists mainly of fish, but waterfowl, and small mammals.

How These Traits Bring You Success in Your Career

Just as eagles must risk themselves for the survival of their families, you must not be afraid to put yourself on the line. Someone who's willing to take risks, while staying loyal and determined, will get noticed and plucked out of the crowd.

How These Characteristics Make You a Better Leader

Successful leaders are fearless. They face problems head on. No matter what the size of the problem, a good leader attacks them without regard for themselves. It wouldn’t even dawn on you to be afraid because your instinct is to protect that which you love and cherish. Other take note of your passion and determination and draw strength from it.

Example of a Great Leader With This Quality

Nelson Mandela: Mandela was arrested and imprisoned in 1962. Subsequently, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring to overthrow the state of South Africa. Mandela served 27 years in prison (split between Robben Island, Pollsmoor Prison, and Victor Verster Prison). After all of his challenges, he still advocated for forgiveness and equality, never backing down from a challenge.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

— Nelson Mandela

3. Eagles Are Tenacious Defenders

Watch an eagle when a storm comes. While other birds fly away from the storm, 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.

The Scientific Facts

  • Bald eagles use their long, sharp claws to defend themselves. Bald eagles do not have any animal predators.
  • Osprey, a large bird, may try to attack them, but the eagle will scare them away.
  • Eagles build their nests high up and are vigilant protectors of their eggs and young.
  • It is thought that bald eagles mate for life. However, if one member of a pair dies or disappears, the survivor will choose a new mate.
  • They invest heavily in their relationships.
  • They share the burden of building and maintaining a home and the trials of parenthood.
  • Eagle courtship involves elaborate, spectacular calls and flight displays.
  • Usually, a territory defended by a mature pair will be 1 to 2 km (0.62 to 1.24 mi) of waterside habitat.

How These Traits Bring You Success in Your Career

The challenges in the life of a leader are many. These are the storms we must face as leaders to rise to greater heights. When eagles build relationships, they truly invest in them.

How These Traits Make You a Better Leader

Like an eagle, a leader can only rise to greater heights if he faces the challenges head on without running away from them.

Example of a Great Leader With This Quality

Cesar Chavez: Cesar Chavez made people aware of the struggles of farm workers for better pay and safer working conditions. Chavez succeeded to bring higher pay and better hours to farm workers through nonviolent tactics (boycotts, pickets, and strikes). Cesar Chavez never gave up and defended his people fiercely.

Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.

— Cesar Chavez

4. Eagles Are High Flyers

Great leaders are problem solvers. They don’t complain like the chickens do. When the storm comes, they love to take challenges as the eagle does.

The Science

  • In reality, eagles tend to use very little energy when they fly so high.
  • Even though they can reach altitudes of over 10,000 feet, they are usually soaring to these heights, and taking long glides to cover ground, then soaring up again and repeating the process.
  • Their large wingspan allows them to glide and use very little energy.

How These Traits Bring You Success in Your Career

An eagle doesn't mingle with the pigeons. Pigeons scavenge on the ground and grumble and complain all day long. Eagles don't. They fly and make less noise, waiting for opportunities to strike their next prey or gliding with the current of the storm. Remaining focused on that which inspires you will help guide you through your career. It's easier to stay motivated when you stay focused on what truly inspires you.

How These Traits Make You a Better Leader

Great leaders are problem solvers. They don't complain like pigeons do. They love to take challenges like an eagle when the storm comes.

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. You must have high hopes and work to inspire others to greater heights. Think big and ask others to think big as well. When eagles fly, they make less noise than other birds. They wait patiently for opportunities to strike. We can learn a lot from the eagle's power and patience.

Example of a Great Leader With This Quality

Warren Buffett: Buffett was born in Nebraska in 1930. He demonstrated keen business abilities at a young age. He formed Buffett Partnership Ltd. in 1956, and by 1965 he had assumed control of Berkshire Hathaway. He oversaw the growth of a conglomerate with holdings in the media, insurance, energy and food, and beverage industries. Buffett is one of the world's richest men and a celebrated philanthropist. We can learn a lot from Buffett's savvy investing and his constant vigilance.

I always knew I was going to be rich. I don't think I ever doubted it for a minute.

— Warren Buffett

5. Eagles Nurture Their Young

Even though eagles are known for their aggression, what is more astonishing is their ability to nurture their young ones.

The Scientific Facts

  • Eaglets are nestlings for 10 to 12 weeks (by the time they are 9 weeks old, they are fully grown).
  • Once the babies hatch, the female is present at the nest about 90% of the time. The male is present about 50% of the time. At least one of the parents is at the nest almost all of the time.
  • Starting at day one, the young nestlings are directly fed raw meat (eagles do not regurgitate food to feed their young like some other animals do).
  • During the first two weeks of the babies' lives, the male provides most of the food. After three or four weeks, the female provides as much food as the male, and by the late nesting period, the female provides most of the food.
  • Eaglets are fed one to eight times a day. Their parents carry prey to the nest. They feed their chicks by tearing off pieces of food and holding them out to the beaks of the eaglets. The parents tear off bits of flesh and feed them directly, bill to bill.
  • By age five weeks, male and female parents bring nearly equal amounts of food to their chicks. Parents begin spending more time away from the young and often perch in nearby trees.
  • By six weeks old, the young are able to stand and walk. By seven weeks old, their maximum body growth is nearing completion.
  • At eight weeks, they are at their hungriest and are ready to fly by week twelve.
  • At nine weeks old, the chicks are fully grown. Chicks continue living in the nest and gaining strength for 10 to 12 weeks.

How These Traits Bring You Success in Your Career

As is the case with other birds, mother eagles must take good care of their young to give them the strength to fly. Just as mother eagles must usher their chicks out of the nest, a good leader must invest their time in their coworkers, etc. If you invest your time in other, then they'll invest their time in you. Building strong and stable relationships is one of the best ways to grow your career.

How These Traits Make You a Better Leader

True leaders are not bosses. They grow with their people. They 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 they also never give up empowering and directing.

Example of a Great Leader With This Quality

John F. Kennedy: To John F. Kennedy, America was something to take care of together as a team. Kennedy asked his fellow Americans to join him in the collective dream of going to the moon "not because it is easy, but because it is hard." Kennedy believed that by investing in the dreams and hopes of his fellow countrymen, the country would rise above its troubles.

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him"

— John F. Kenney

Eagles in Mythology and Culture

  • Native American cultures: In ancient North American cultures, eagles were more prominent in reality and in symbology than in Eurasia. The eagle is still considered a sacred bird in many Indigenous American cultures. Their feathers are central to a number of religious and spiritual ceremonies. While most prominent among the Plains cultures, eagles are also held sacred in a number of other Native Americans in the United States and First Nations Peoples in Canada.
  • Judaism and Christianity: Eagles are mentioned in the Bible as being admired for their swiftness, great physical power, and their endurance. Eagles are one of four dimensions of creation, as a messenger of God, and a skilled predator.
  • Eurasian cultures: Many Eurasian cultures and faiths feature eagles prominently. In the Hellenistic religion, the golden eagle is the signature bird of the god Zeus.
  • Norse mythology: In Norse mythology, the golden eagle sits atop Yggdrasil, the great ash tree that runs through the universe. A squirrel, Ratsatosk, carries messages and insults between the eagle at the crown and a serpent gnawing at the tree roots. In many cultures, eagles were viewed as a link between terrestrial mankind and celestial deities.
  • Arabic mythologies: In the Arab world the eagle is historically a symbol of power in poetry. According to legend, the eagle was the personal emblem of Saladin.
  • Chinese culture: In these cultures, the eagle is a symbol for wisdom. The eagle is also a symbol of strength. For the Huns, who travelled through central Asia, the eagle symbolised the ruler.

Facts About Eagles

  • Eagles belong to the family Accipitridae.
  • Eagles belong to the order Falconiformes.
  • Sometimes even the national bird has to cut loose. Bald eagles have been known to play with plastic bottles and other objects pressed into service as toys.
  • The largest bald eagle nest on record, in St. Petersburg, Florida, was 2.9 meters in diameter and 6.1 meters tall.
  • Another famous nest—in Vermilion, Ohio—was shaped like a wine glass and weighed almost two metric tons. It was used for 34 years until the tree blew down.
  • Immature bald eagles spend the first four years of their lives in nomadic exploration of vast territories and can fly hundreds of miles per day.
  • Some young birds from Florida have wandered north as far as Michigan, and birds from California have reached Alaska.
  • Bald eagles occasionally hunt cooperatively, with one individual flushing prey towards another.
  • The oldest recorded eagle in the wild was at least 38 years old.


Book Recommendation

I highly recommend The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephan R. Covey. It's a great book if you not only read it but implement its practices as well.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Apostle U.E.UDOH on August 28, 2020:

I am blessed indeed and I recommend it for feature leaders.

Anna maria mariñas on August 25, 2020:

What does it meam?

Osmond on August 08, 2020:

I learnt a lot here,i appreciate your effort.Thanks.

Gopalkrishna Nayak on July 19, 2020:

Sir, Could you please rectify the typographical error crept in " John F. Kennedy" . thanks

Linet on July 09, 2020:

love the story

Md Ruhul Amin on April 03, 2020:

Really it more informative and educative \.

Shirley Varagina on February 19, 2020:

Inspirational!Great article Ian

Sunday Yibari Benedict on February 10, 2020:

Great Inspiration

Hoseah Kiplang'a on January 11, 2020:

Now I know about myself. Many times . My animal is an eagle, my family/clan is identified by an eagle. This message has inspired me so greatly, I appreciate.

Win on January 10, 2020:

Thank you for great insite

igwe ugochukwu on January 03, 2020:

i virture the quality of an eagle as strienght boosting animal

igwe ugochukwu on January 03, 2020:

i virture the quality of an eagle as strienght boosting animal on November 28, 2019:

Surely I need that character of an eagle .It is inspiring

Aristotle on November 19, 2019:

Respect the Eagle

Georgene on October 24, 2019:

When people become close minded, how do you get them to open there minds back up?

jemil awel on October 20, 2019:

wow eagle...

Jabulile N Twala on August 15, 2019:

One thing that amazing about mother eagle she build her nest for her chick with thorns. She teaches her chiks that life is not about comfort but challenges. She protect her chicks while father eagle look after the chicks and while she is fighting with her enemy

Agness Nyirenda on June 23, 2019:

This is awesome and powerful, just what I needed to know.great information, thank you very much.

Naledi on June 16, 2019:

I wanna live like eagle

I am Okugo,I am of the Eagle,I am Ezeugo,I am Eagle King,Thank God on June 01, 2019:

I am Okugo,I am of the Eagle,I am Ezeugo,I am Eagle King,Thank God,Eagle do not mix with other birds but only enjoy flying at their high altitude. It is this characteristic that makes eagles unique birds. An eagle will never surrender to the size or strength of its prey

Charlotte Jewell on April 23, 2019:

God always and forever more will cause us to Triumph and Soar.

Nwioro Friday Nwioro on March 24, 2019:

God is wonderful.

micah on February 26, 2019:

god made cool eagles

Friday ifeanyichukwu Odoh on February 12, 2019:

This Is awesome...

Joshua A.Egbodo on January 09, 2019:

God implanted the human genius into some certain creation,before He later breath into a man to lives and live like them as sample.

Rogelio Lineses on January 04, 2019:

Always trust in the Lord in all you does and you will not left behind, God put us on the head not the tail, God will make us Conqueror in every situition in Jesus Nsme. Amen,

Necy on January 03, 2019:

This is inspiring.....I understand why God compares or reference his people like an eagle.

Medha on January 01, 2019:

Eagle is complete picture of a Leader and Leadership qualities.

Nasaa Philip on December 15, 2018:

Fearless, Courageous, Good vision, Flying High.

Very inspiring on November 30, 2018:

Leaders grow with their followers indeed

Gaelon on November 29, 2018:

This really helps me a lot with home work

Bornwell on November 25, 2018:


Gav harris on November 14, 2018:

Helped a lot with my paper and knowing of Eagles,thank you

Mukund Panchal on October 24, 2018:

True leadership and fearlessness.

Jk on October 15, 2018:

Ok This Is Good

Ejeh Patricia ojoma on September 27, 2018:


...hi on September 13, 2018:


Bob on September 13, 2018:


lex on September 08, 2018:


lyzz soky on September 06, 2018:

Inspiring content from this context.

Buyi Tshabalala on September 01, 2018:

Wow! Food for thought..!

Kenedy mutisya on August 25, 2018:

True leaderds, should traits,features that of an eagles in their life.

ZWAVHUDI MARY GOODNESS on August 20, 2018:


NKOOM on August 17, 2018:

Nice information. It will really help African leaders if they read this book.

David on August 01, 2018:

Despite that iam an eagle by character..i keep choosing an eagle now and then

Alisa Mohan on July 14, 2018:


Wycliffe Ole Maina on June 26, 2018:

Great to view,it is fantastic and inspiring one

thank you,

SIGQIBO on June 19, 2018:

This is wonderful because i like the Eagle that's why i ended up here, the way it does the things, vigilant, wise, very powerful & i like it when it fights the big snakes it also changes the battle in various ways, that's my role model King.

Cephas on June 16, 2018:

this is Very Cool and wonderful to know

Queen on June 16, 2018:


Saka Koledowo Olatayo on June 11, 2018:

this is very wonderful...

valsac on June 04, 2018:


nancy kuya on April 23, 2018:

very inspiring and satisfying.

peter on February 16, 2018:

Satisfied by your good explanation of eagles

Vitor Soveral on January 18, 2018:

Very inspiring!

Thank you.

Christine B on November 27, 2017:

Very inspiring and motivating, thank you!!

Ishmael on October 24, 2017:

Truly inspiring

Braen-Kenya. on October 06, 2017:

This is deeply rooted, awesome and easily grasped iam actually siting you in my upcoming book. Viva

Eric aviti msemwa/ on October 01, 2017:

i have inspired with ur explanation about Eagle

albert on September 27, 2017:


victor on September 15, 2017:

inspiring words

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on July 25, 2017:

I have been extremely business on my new Creative Agency and havent been in touch. But heck I am here and I intend to write more here.

But please do me a favor and hit this link and check my Facebook account out and lets connect there.

Here we go

See you on the other side.

Say something like,

"Hi Ian, I am John Doe from Hubpages"


Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on April 22, 2016:

HI Kevin,

Glad you found it useful. I intend to turn this hub into an e-book with indept information so keep an eye on my hubs. Do connect with me on Facebook

Kelvin on January 06, 2016:

Really very awesome article on leadership, and I believe using the eagle as an example is a true definition of a leaders quality. I really enjoyed this upskilling and will use this qualities to transform in our daily life.

Cheers to you

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on December 07, 2015:

Appreciate all your enpowering comments. Please do keep sharing the wisdom to the world over.

manatita44 from london on September 10, 2015:

Very visionary, uplifting and well thought out Hub. Continue ...continue ...

VIJAYA YASASREE on September 05, 2015:

Eagles are very GREAT creatures, everyone should inculcate the qualities of an eagle to be in a HIGH position.

ad on September 04, 2015:

Wow! Great lessons. So inspiring. Tnx.

Paul philemon on July 26, 2015:

Among other animals,only the eagle is a soaring by following this procedure,i can also become a soaring leader.

salome on June 21, 2015:


Nancy Ziyambi, Zimbabwe on June 16, 2015:

I understand that when it's time to die, the eagle positions itself so that it faces the sun and dies with the light in its eyes. If this is true then this leader is positive/optimistic to the very end

Truly inspiring.

Janaka on May 14, 2015:

Excellent writing and thinking


Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on March 02, 2015:

Thanks all for reading and commenting. Bless.


Neil Viljoen on February 25, 2015:

I believed this all until somebody referred me to a Pse answer me


SIMON on February 04, 2015:

wooooow i like it

barcinal_rodirick on December 03, 2014:

also eagle are good to eat..i've tasted some..

Wilson Nemukongwe on September 21, 2014:

What a wonderful lesson. Surely i am going to apply all the seven leadership skills i learnt from this wonderful bird of prey in my ddaily leadership experience. Very much informing.

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on August 20, 2014:

I am writing this reply in Hawaii University, as a Leadership Fellow. We learning so much and I am fired up to continue growing my business asn helping out in the community as a leader.



flexis on July 25, 2014:

great info its really touching ive learnt smething i didn't know.

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on June 24, 2014:

Updated with new quotes new pictures of the amazing bird, the eagle.

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on June 14, 2014:

You welcome.desmond..cheers

desmond m on June 04, 2014:

not only interesting bt so so motivational hey thanx

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on May 11, 2014:

Thank you bijoy and ISAAC for visiting and commenting on my hub. cheers


ISAAC.from jos p/state.nigeria on April 03, 2014:

its not only wishing that'i can fly'but to possess all eagles quality.after all,GOD in HIS word says we should mount up wings as eagle.thanks

bijoy on March 21, 2014:

Eagle inspire me 2 keept positive myself.................

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on March 05, 2014:

Thanks Jimmy,

I am glad you found the article useful. Eagles inspire me and that's why i keep studying their positive habits.


Jimmy Muwuluke on January 15, 2014:

Wonderful animal. Good to emulate in life. That is why for my school the motto is Swerve, Spiral and Soar. This is explained to the pupils in the context of the eagle life. It encourages the children. The school anthem has similar message.

Pius JK Clement on January 06, 2014:

Very impressed when read about the Eagle's behavior and its techniques of hunting down other inferior birds.It teaches us something to learn from.Well described Mr.Ian.

Yvonne on December 31, 2013:

Wow, thank you Ian for this I have heard people talk about the eagle and got interested to find more. Thank you so much.

Yvonne, Botswana

Y on December 30, 2013:

Wow, thank you Ian for this I have heard people talk about the eagle and got interested to find more. Thank you so much.

Robert Chambo on November 24, 2013:


george kungu on October 17, 2013:

Owerful about eagles. God's design to us likens the eagle way. Its time we change and get renewed.

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on October 10, 2013:

Thanks Juliana. Bless

Juliana Ishaya on October 02, 2013:

What an amazing bird with plenty lessons to teach i have learnt from its xtics im just impress

Juliana Ishaya on October 02, 2013:

What an amazing bird with plenty lessons to teach i have learnt from its xtics im just impress

Clements on September 30, 2013:

Thanks Lan, this is inspiring. Even God appreciate the qualities in the Eagle. He (God) reminded the Isrealites how He bore them on EAGLE'S wing all through then wilderness. He also promised that those who wait upon Him will renew their strength and mount up with wings like EAGLE. This bird is outstanding, please continue the good job

Clements on September 30, 2013:

Thanks Lan, this is inspiring. Even God appreciate the qualities in the Eagle. He (God) reminded the Isrealites how He bore them on EAGLE'S wing all through then wilderness. He also promised that those who wait upon Him will renew their strength and mount up with wings like EAGLE. This bird is outstanding, please continue the good job

kknk on September 05, 2013:


dfgagh g

Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on September 03, 2013:

Thanks Songezo for dropping by. I m glad you found something useful in the hub.


Ian D Hetri (author) from Papua New Guinea on September 03, 2013:

Thanks Songezo for dropping by. I m glad you found something useful in the hub.


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