Leadership… what it is???

Leadership can be viewed as our individual and collective response to change the world for the better. An understanding and practice of leadership responsive to this world is needed given today’s highly interdependent world, full of enormous complexity, accelerating change and the unforeseen.

Research shows that the challenges leaders face around the world are more similar than different. Even though they may feel alone in facing their challenges, it is likely that one leader’s challenge is the same as others, several time zones away.

In the past ten years, we have seen an explosion of management books and training.  But leadership isn’t management.  This is the big one. Leadership and management are not synonymous. Typically, managers manage thingsLeaders lead people.  The context for business is changing so fast that new, carefully crafted strategies are needed based on the best knowledge available. Leadership development cannot be left to chance.

“You cannot change how another person thinks. Give them a tool, the use of which will gradually lead them to think differently.  Success in business requires dealing with human beings, which is to say conscious beings.” – Fred Kofman.

Great leadership is conscious leadership

To be conscious means to be mindful, to be open to perceiving the world around and within us.

“Leadership is the process by which a person sets a purpose for other people and motivates them to pursue it with effectiveness and full commitment.  Leadership transforms individual potential into collective performance.” – Fred Kofman.

Leadership requires self-awareness as well as inter-relational skills.  These two cannot be taught and are not easy to teach because they are embodied experience rather than intellectual ones.  That’s why no matter how much one sits in a classroom and learns about leadership, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

The way of leading, inspiring and influencing others is unique to each person. Each leader has his own style based on his own personality and strengths. But because we are emotional being, we have emotions and it’s interesting to see how our emotions change with external circumstances.  As a leader, our role is to notice what is happening in us and others and decide what to do with this information.  Leadership requires us to pay attention, to be aware of our emotions.

“Emotional Self-Awareness is the capacity to tune into our own feelings and recognize how our feelings affect us and our performance. It is an important skill for leadership at any level, as well as many aspects of life.  The purpose of developing Emotional Self-Awareness is that it allows us to understand how our bodily sensations and our emotions impact us, others, and our environment. Each moment is an opportunity to be self-aware. Thus, the more we practice it, the more proficient we become and the greater our capacity to recognize the space between stimuli and our response to that stimuli, ensuring a more conscious and skillful approach. “- Daniel Goleman

Learning with Horses to develop Emotional Intelligence …

Researchers in the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture recently completed one of the first studies to explore how working with horses can develop emotional intelligence in humans.

“Each exercise in the workshop was designed to develop the four emotional intelligence competency areas of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management,” said Pohl, research project manager and workshop facilitator.  The before and after survey results showed there was an increase in the scores of the intervention group in all four competency areas when compared to the control group.

What have horses to do with that??

“While leading a horse might sound simple, the skills that people learn are profound and life-changing. These skills are repeatable in the workplace and create sustainable changes of behavior.” – Jude Jennison

Horses communicate almost entirely non-verbally using body language, movement, space, intention, and emotions as their communication. They mirror our leadership behavior.  Horses will only follow an assertive leader who leads with strength and gentleness, courage and compassion, trust and mutual respect.  Likewise, horses will quickly identify the places where we get stuck.  This non-judgmental feedback gives us an opportunity to try new ways of leading and enables us to “fine-tuning” our leadership style at that moment.  The result is we learn what we most need to learn to have more impact and influence…

Therefore leadership is a continuous path of learning to inspire and influence…..

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