This question has come up a lot in the process of developing Sincerus Leadership and its framework. Its something that I really have had to think through communicating about. How the horses have helped me become a better leader has been a no brainier for me. They give me instant feedback. I ask and then give them the opportunity to answer. How they answer tells me if I am being clear or not in my way of asking.
Its the instant feedback that I find the most helpful. And, then, the practice of being honest with myself about the answer they are giving me. We humans have practiced dishonesty with ourselves so much that its hard to tell what is true and what is not. The horses do not operate this way. So, its this honest self appraisal that helps me to evaluate how effective I am with those I am leading.
Take, for example, the exercise of leading a horse over a tarp. This may or may not be concerning to the horse. How I ask them to accomplish this task may or may not allow them the opportunity to perform the task in a way that works best for THEM. Am I willing to allow the horse to solve this problem in THEIR way? Am I so attached to the outcome that I miss the process? Do I guarantee that my equine partner is going to fail before I even begin because Ive communicated fear? Or, am I willing to ask my equine partner what they need in order to accomplish the task and then give it to them? Its most important for me to be more willing to inventory my part. How the horse responds is a reflection of how Ive asked.
These types of questions are exactly the kinds of questions that we need to be asking of our team. How can we become facilitators as a leadership style instead of "bosses" stuck in our limited way of doing things? How can a new and collaborative way bring us to a better than intended outcome?
This is, after all, what we all want.