Straight from the horse’s mouth…
In the realm of Executive Leadership Development, unconventional methods often yield the most profound insights. Among these, equine assisted learning stands as a testament to the transformative power of experiential education.
Horses, with their highly astute senses and innate herding instinct, act as living barometers for individual and group behavioural patterns. Their responses to our actions are immediate and unbiased, providing a rare, clear lens through which leaders can observe and analyse their communication and leadership style in real-time.
“No laughter, no learning” Jane Vella, Founder, Global Learning Partners. In the self-imposed pressure we put on ourselves to achieve defined goals, we sometimes forget these simple but important things. When people are laughing together, they are engaged, they are connected, they are learning.
In the second instalment of our series on balanced leadership, I will continue to look at confidence in leadership, this time as it relates to confidence in those around you – especially your own team.
Self-confidence is an attribute we associate with great leaders, but do we ever stop and think about what it really means and how to develop it as a skill?
Self-confidence means being brave, not putting on a front, being arrogant or thinking you have nothing left to learn. So rather than having a ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ attitude, self-confident leadership is about being vulnerable and being yourself.
You can’t hide who you are from horses, because they are intuitive enough to know when you aren’t genuine. While it’s not as obvious as with a horse, humans have instincts too which will eventually allow them to detect who is really confident and who is not.
Mine is Kindness Those of you who read my blog will know that I regularly publish a ‘Word of the Week’. It is usually tied to an anecdote from our work and my hope is that it is a bit inspirational, a “food for thought” type thing. At an end of year celebration with...
What a year 2022 has been! As it draws to a close, I just wanted to express my heartfelt gratitude to our clients, colleagues, friends and families for their wonderful support as we navigated the uncertainty of post-pandemic life. We loved welcoming clients back to...
Problem-solving as a team yields excellent results, but it can also prove tricky if team undercurrents and communication are not at their best.
Pretty much all of our team exercises involve some form of problem-solving. When a four-legged, 500kg team member is included, it inspires collaboration and creative thinking on a whole new level.
And, it’s clear when the problem-solving dynamic is dysfunctional.
cceptance is also one of the biggest take-aways from our leadership training. I think it’s because horses always accept us for who we are, which teaches us to accept in return. They are not judging us on anything superficial. They know nothing about the type of car we drive or what our title is – for a horse, it’s all about whether they feel safe to be with us. And I reckon that’s how we humans want to feel as well.
The natural world certainly is our greatest teacher. I’ve been reading a fascinating book called, “Wild Leadership: What Wild Animals Teach Us About Leadership”, by Erin Walraven. It looks at the various systems of leadership that animal groups live by to survive and thrive. Animal groups have evolved effective ways of navigating their way through theuncertainty of every single day. It is selfless, collaborative and appropriate for theenvironment in which they live. When we humans take examples from nature and adopt them it’s called ‘biomimicry’. Biomimicry “aims to take inspiration from the natural solutions adopted by nature and translate the principles to human engineering.” (youmatter.world)
Responsibility is a huge word. It is inextricably part of life both in our private and professional roles, especially leadership roles. Sharing responsibility is key for a well-functioning team. Of course, everyone has their own role, and some people will naturally be the leaders. However, being a leader does not mean excluding the ideas and input of others and insisting on doing things your way. As always, communication is king.
The term “herd mentality” generally has a negative connotation. It is defined as, “the tendency of the people in a group to think and behave in ways that conform with others in the group rather than as individuals.” In our society, we are taught that it is good to stand out from the crowd. BUT, what if we flip our thinking just a bit and see the strength in being part of a group?
A leader’s role is greatly diminished without their team. No one can do everything by themselves, and no one knows everything. It’s so important to inspire, motivate and empower your team to become the very best version of themselves. That’s leadership; that’s what leaders do. You are privileged to be in a position where you can direct, shape, and focus someone’s potential on a specific result. When you are given the responsibility to lead, you are given an awesome opportunity to influence many people’s lives positively; a responsibility you should never take for granted”
How do you embody the spirit of leadership?
If the past couple of years have taught us anything, it is the importance of connection. What we get with in-person connection is a feeling, a vibe, energy. These cannot be replaced. When a wild horse is removed from his/her herd, they remember each other even when reunited years later. The connection remains despite physical separation.
Once we allow ourselves to become vulnerable enough to admit our challenges, however, we can then gather the courage to lead with the courage to be our authentic selves
Working with purpose leads to a happier work life, better functioning teams and superior leadership.
Setting personal boundaries is crucial for your sense of psychological safety and overall wellbeing. Equally important is respecting others’ boundaries. It’s a vital part of successful leadership and maintaining effective working relationships.
Horses aren’t afraid of the truth! However, for people, it can be difficult and confronting to have honest conversations with others, particularly in the workplace.
One of the most important features of a great leader is the ability to pull what is hidden to the surface. This is both in our communication and dealings with others, but also – crucially – in being honest with ourselves. It’s also one of the hardest things to do.
We all know the important role body language plays in effective communication. And we’ve all heard the statistic that the majority of human communication is actually non-verbal.
Yet, we are obsessed with speaking, and generally terrible at listening. And we are often unaware of the ways our body language is communicating louder than our words.
Confidence at work is one of my favourite topics – it is actually a part of our motto, ‘Confidence. Consciousness. Compassion.’, at Leading Edge. Whether it’s building your own or helping others around you boost theirs, confidence is essential for a happy and productive workplace.
We work with horses to help people be more conscious – or in other words more self-aware of their unconscious behaviours and attitudes – so they can become the most authentic version of themselves and, by extension, better leaders.