With the brand name, Legends & Leaders, it was a given that I would eventually write a piece for this blog about Leadership itself.

As someone who trains leadership skills development and speaks at conferences on the topic, I’m often asked to define what true leadership looks like and what it demands of those holding that mantle.

How would you answer that question?  Write down your answer or at least file it in your brain.

My answer is nearly always the same – it’s not what leadership looks like, rather it’s about what makes someone want to follow you – and your vision. It’s about the feeling of trust that you radiate that gives people a belief that they, their careers, their dreams, their futures are safe with you.

Having spent over 30 years in business, in management then leadership positions from early on in my career, I’ve been exposed to and exposed others to many attempts at leadership. Nowadays I have the privilege of helping people witness the foundation stone of effective & lasting leadership, trust, being built and earned. All with the help of a horse. Yes, a horse (not a type-o) – and here’s why this works for human leadership.

Horses are herd animals, with a set hierarchy of social interaction and a defined leader, not unlike teams and leaders to humans. However, they are also flight animals, with heightened senses designed to detect any signs of danger, meaning they are highly discerning of which herd leader they choose, individually and as a group. So when you use horses with humans to demonstrate true leadership, the horse becomes a “mirror” on that would-be leader’s behaviour and how it affects the behaviour, confidence and trust of those around them.

Equine flight & herd nature makes horses highly sophisticated EQ creatures yet simple, immediate and honest communicators, allowing me to use them with course participants or during interactive video presentation sessions to break down the elements of essential leadership and showcase them in a way that create aha moments for those involved.

There are 4 stages for a “forming” leader to know how to execute well:

  • The insightful watch
  • The openness to hear
  • The patient watch
  • The choosing (or rejection) of the leader

With a new horse in the hands of a human skilled at leadership language & signals, a whisperer, the movement from a distant & distrustful equine to a horse choosing you as its leader can take less than 20 minutes – a distilled masterclass showing a powerful pathway to being a true leader, one that people choose to have.

So reconsider your earlier answer about what a great leader looks like. And consider that perhaps true leaders today are less about demanding force-of-will and more about a light but confident touch that draws people to you through the foundation of trust.

For those who have enjoyed hearing about this game-changing way to teach leadership (and teamwork) that delivers lasting impact in a short session, respond to this blog and we’ll arrange with Adrianne to deliver some more horse wisdom for future leaders and their teams.

BLOG by Linda McGregor, Founder FOUR LEGGED SAGES, Coach for Legends & Leaders
Find her or follow her on Linked In or email her:  fourleggedsages@allabouteve.com.au


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