Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager (1982) and other books, said in 1984:
“A British friend of mine calls it the seagull-type of management. The big guy flies in, dumps on everybody, and is gone.”
Blanchard’s “British friend” has not been identified. In the book Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership (1985), Blanchard wrote:
“‘I now call it ‘seagull management,’’ said the One Minute Manager. ‘Seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and then fly out.’”
“Seagull Management” was the Urban Dictionary’s Urban Word of the Day for December 10, 2012.
Wikipedia: Seagull manager
Seagull manager is a management style wherein a manager only interacts with employees when a problem arises. The perception is that such a management style involves hasty decisions about things they have little understanding of, resulting in a messy situation that others must deal with. 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.” (p. 38)
28 June 1984, Lethbridge (Alberta) Herald, pg. C2, col. 7:
WINNIPEG (CP)—By and large, bosses in Canada and the United States are lousy, says the co-author of one of North America’s most successful management advice books.
“A British friend of mine calls it the seagull-type of management,” Ken Blanchard of San Diego said Monday. “The big guy flies in, dumps on everybody, and is gone.”
Blanchard, who co-wrote The One-Minute Manager with a physician, Dr. Spencer Johnson, was in Winnipeg to address the sixth national conference of the Canadian Society of Training and Development.
Leadership and the One Minute Manager:
Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership
By Ken Blanchard, Patricia Zigarmi and Drea Zigarmi
New York, NY: Morrow
“I now call it ‘seagull management,’” said the One Minute Manager. “Seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and then fly out.”
The Power of People Skills:
A manager’s guide to assessing and developing your organization’s greatest resource
By J. Douglas Stewart
New York, NY: J. Wiley
In short, when announcing a change is no time for the manager to practice “seagull management”: fly in out of the blue, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and fly off.
The Power of Ethical Management
By Ken Blanchard and Norman Vincent Peale
New York, NY: W. Morrow
“Seagull management,” I repeated. “I’ve heard of a lot of different management styles, but I’ve never heard of seagull management.”
“A seagull manager,” smiled the consultant, “flies in, makes a lot of noise, dumps on everyone, and then flies out. That often starts a ripple effect.”
19 January 1989, Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI), pg. 4A, col. 2 ad:
The One Minute Manager
How to avoid being a “Seagull Manager”
27 July 1990, Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette, “Get out of the leading rut” by Scott Clark, pg. 6B, col. 3:
Managers who never make it out of the leading rut tend to be quick to criticize, yet they never really help subordinates learn from their mistakes. These managers are acting in the Seagull Management Mode—they fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and then fly out.
December 10, 2012 Urban Word of the Day
The seagull manager flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything then flies off again leaving a big mess behind.
by anonymous Aug 25, 2003
(Re)Thinking Violence in Health Care Settings:
A Critical Approach
By Dave Holmes, Trudy Rudge and Amélie Perron
Cornall: TJ International Ltd.
In my own work I found similar pressures and I used the term ‘seagull management’ to describe the culture of the organisations that I studied. Nurses described their managers thus:
We have seagull managers here, they fly in from a great height, make a lot of noise, drop a lot of crap, then fly off again.