“Success can never be enjoyed if there is no congruity or alignment of your beliefs, values and how you behave in attaining your achievements.”

Archibald Marwizi, author.

 Unfortunately, we humans sometimes lose touch with being congruent. By this I mean that, quite simply, our public persona and our inner values do not match.

According to the Diamond Model of Leadership, however, congruence is one of the four essential qualities of leadership. Alongside attention, direction and energy, congruence completes the formula for successful leadership. These qualities are relevant on both an individual, team and organisational level.

Horses sense incongruence as a means of keeping themselves and their herd safe. If we are working alongside horses, they can sense if what we are feeling and what we are saying or doing align. They can also sense misalignment between individuals in a team.  

We have a good example of this from a recent leadership development program here for female entrepreneurs at Leading Edge. While working with our horse, Kylie, team member Michelle very confidently stated how the team should solve the problem at hand. Amelia said she agreed and they set about to complete their task. Kylie was showing signs that something wasn’t right. She stood her ground and checked in with each person in turn, gently touching one then the other with her big nose.

On facilitating this interaction, it turned out that Amelia did not really know what was expected of her but had followed Michelle’s confident lead. Michelle was surprised that Amelia found her so confident as she really did not feel this way but thought someone needed to take action. Once the team openly communicated, the ambiguity disappeared and the team was able to work together. 

I believe that humans can sense congruence as well. And I believe we also look for this in our leaders. Congruence builds trust, and trust makes us feel safe.

Sometimes congruence is as simple admitting something doesn’t feel right. Other times it is taking a real stand for what you believe in. Do you recognise when something feels incongruent? What do you do about it?