Seagull management is a management style wherein a manager only interacts with employees when they deem a problem has arisen. The perception is that such a management style involves hasty decisions about things of which they have little understanding, resulting in a messy situation with which others must deal. The term became popular through a joke in Ken Blanchard's 1985 book Leadership and the One Minute Manager: "Seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, then fly out."
As seagull managers only interact with employees when there is a problem, they rarely offer praise or encourage when things are going well. When problems arise, they often seek to place the blame on other people, and to draw attention to themselves in order to appear important. They criticize others, but make little contribution to the solution of a problem.
The seagull style of management may be indicative of a manager who is untrained, inexperienced or newly-appointed.
- Andreou, Alex (July 25, 2012). "Why David Cameron is the ultimate "seagull" manager". New Statesman. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
Back when I worked for a large organisation, we had a term: "seagull manager". It described someone, usually a consultant, who flew in, made a lot of noise, dumped on everyone from a great height, then flew out again, leaving others to deal with the consequences.
- Bradberry, Travis (2009). "The cost of seagull management". Industrial and Commercial Training. 41 (3): 139–141. doi:10.1108/00197850910950925.
- Witt, David (August 15, 2011). "Don't become a "seagull" manager". leaderchat.org. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
It's harder than ever to avoid becoming a "seagull manager" these days. That's when you fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and then fly away again.
- 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.
- "Seagull Management". Types of Management. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "Do You Have a "Seagull Manager"?". Modern Servant Leader. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.