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4 Examples of Seagull Management

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Seagull management is a term for management that is disengaged until a problem happens at which point they jump into command and control mode. This is based on an analogy to seagulls that "fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, then fly out." The following are common variations of seagull management.

Laissez-faire Management

Seagull management has negative connotations but can be based on a defensible management style. For example, laissez-faire management is the process of managing employees by goals such that you give them complete freedom unless they fail to achieve such goals.

Disconnected Managers

Their is a fine line between laissez-faire management and simply being disconnected such that a manager fails in their duty to direct, monitor and control a business.

Management by Exception

Management by exception is the process of establishing processes, procedures and systems such that managers need not manage the repeated and predictable aspects of work. In this context, work is carefully controlled and managers need only manage aspects of work that are unique or unpredictable such as projects and unanticipated problems.

Mushroom Management

Mushroom management is another humorous analogy for a negative management style. These managers use secrecy and negative reinforcement to control a team. As with seagull management, this involves swooping in to command things when a problem occurs.


Seagull management is a management style that seldom gets involved in work unless there is an issue.
Overview: Seagull Management
Management that is disengaged until a problem happens at which point they jump into command and control mode.
Ken Blanchard's 1985 book "Leadership and the One Minute Manager"
Related Concepts
Next: Management by Exception
More about negative culture:
Abilene Paradox
Blame Shifting
Bozo Explosion
Corporate Narcissism
Failing Upwards
Gaming the System
Malicious Compliance
Mushroom Management
Naive Design
Perverse Incentives
Petty Authority
Service Culture
Setting Up to Fail
Tone At The Top
Workplace Culture
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Blanchard, Ken (1985). Leadership and the One Minute Manager. p. 38. "Seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, then fly out."

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