Looking for Leadership In All The Wrong Places
I don’t know if you remember the song from the movie Urban Cowboy called “Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places,” but it aptly describes how so many of us look for the things we long for in life in all the wrong places. When I work with corporate clients and discuss the kinds of programs they’ve traditionally turned to for leadership guidance, I am also reminded of this song.
So many corporations have typically turned to strategic types of training. They learn how to “win against the competition.” There’s always a battle against another entity. That battle exists internally too. It is a philosophy that filters throughout an organization. One-upmanship. That’s how you make it to the top. That is not truly leadership nor is it a method that will survive in our evolving world.
Today, leadership requires a completely different approach. Yes, you must be aware of the “competitors” in your field. However, if you put your attention on heart-centered leadership and come from a place of authenticity, mindfulness and caring about those you are meant to be “leading”, chances are you will not be worried about competitors. They will be worried about you. When you truly lead, in the most effective and natural way, you will intuitively sense whatever danger presents itself, be it externally or internally.
Heart centered leadership means having wisdom, courage and compassion to lead with authenticity, humility, service and transparency. We see this in our work with horses and humans.
You lead a horse effectively by encouragement and inspiration, not fear and control. Anyone can be a heart centered leader by tapping into an ability to listen. Listening is not just hearing. Listening requires the ability to be fully present, to let go of past stories that get in the way of what is happening in the present moment.
Horses Will Sacrifice Themselves for The Sake Of The Herd
As leaders, our focus is to serve the people we are leading, not the other way around. Horses, like all other animals, will sacrifice themselves for the sake of the herd. We human animals are the only ones who seem to have this backwards. Human ‘leaders’ are more willing to sacrifice anyone, including all of their employees in order to save themselves or to give themselves the greatest advantage.
Horses Show Us the Natural Way To Lead
How do we encourage leaders to be open-minded and to think outside the normal constraints? Working with horses pays big dividends in this regard. And, in the beginning, this new way of leading seems counter intuitive. One of the first things leaders learn when working with horses is that they need to let go. For instance, when we seize the reigns with a horse the immediate response of the horse is to brace against being seized.
It’s no different with humans. Resistance is the natural response when you restrict movement, thought, sharing of ideas. Control and command leadership styles produce resistance instead of cooperation.
When we share responsibility with the horse, soften our grip and are in true partner our engagement level is increased and self-esteem boosted. Horses mirror immediate positive feedback, when we lead by encouragement and inspiration not by fear and control
Heart-centered leadership comes from resonance and coherence. Both of those terms are related to vibrations. Resonance is the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating. Coherence refers to waves. The point being that authenticity is felt when the heart is aligned with congruent thoughts, words and deeds. All animals, including humans, feel the vibrations of thoughts and words and know when they are not in alignment with the heart. That’s authenticity. Horses help us see that misalignment clearly.
Are you ready to explore heart-centered leadership that will open you and your company up to greater possibilities? Let’s work together toward this end. At Medicine Horse Ranch, we design custom equine-guided experiential programs for groups, individuals, businesses and organizations around any number of relevant issues and/or topics.