(or is it shared responsibility & accountability?)
In our society, 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.” (*Source: Merriam-Webster.com)
I get it. 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? We could actually learn a lot from herd animals. I have just spent three days observing – and at times interacting with – herds of wild horses in California at the magnificent Return to Freedom, Wild Horse Sanctuaries.
It was fascinating to learn from the experts and observe shared leadership in action. There are several leaders in a herd of horses. Each has a distinctive role – whether it is setting direction and pace, aligning the group or looking out for changes in the environment and potential threats, they all have one thing in common…
Leaders instinctively prioritise the health, harmony and unity of their community.
Just take that in for a minute. They share the responsibility of leadership with the sole purpose of the wellbeing of the entire herd.
We humans are also social beings. We exist in the equivalent of “herds” – our families, neighbourhoods, teams, organisations. We need to function as a collective to survive and thrive – just like wild horses. I think if we humans could leave our egos behind and truly share responsibility and accountability for the good of our communities…
just imagine the possibilities.