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.” (
This approach takes systems tested by nature that have worked over millions of years and adapt/adopt them for our benefit. It makes sense, right? Why reinvent the wheel?
I feel so privileged in my work that I can actually experience – and can share with others – an ancient form of leadership that has served one species (yes, the horse) for millions of years. And the beauty of working with horses – as distinct from elephants, lions and baboons – is that is they are accessible to us.
Our domestic horses retain the instincts of their wild cousins. This means we can experience their collaborative system of shared leadership. We can actually feel what it is like to be an accepted part of the group. We can play with what is working and what is not. And – most importantly – we can relate this back to our interactions with people in our everyday lives in the office, at home, anywhere.
But there is a catch. We need to be prepared to be exposed for who we truly are. There is no hiding. No corporate persona. And this vulnerability takes courage. Horses show us up for all we are. The beauty is that there is no judgement. If we leave our egos aside and take in what they are telling us, the personal growth potential is huge.
Are you brave enough to listen to a horse?