Leadership Lessons From Watching a Horse Whisperer

July 20, 2017 by admin - No Comments

by dan grider

I grew up on a horse ranch. As a young boy I watched my father and the other men work with the horses. They have an instinctive way to know how to lead and motivate a 1200 pound beast. They could get the beast to do what they wanted.

They understood that they had to find the curve of compromise to motivate and train the wild beast. What comes to leadership wisdom there’s much we can learn from animals. Humans and animals alike, tend to react instinctively when someone or something pushes us. We want to resist. First ask yourself, am I creating an unnecessary line of resistance? If you feel push back and tension, pay attention. That resistance in your gut tells you it’s time to switch gears and think: how can I get the other party to be willing to flow with me in the direction we need to go? There is something to be said for working with leaders who are disciple-able. Be sure that you have chosen leaders who are coachable and open to direction. Jesus selected leaders he had spent time with and knew that they were lead-able. When you launch a culture it is essential that you find the right people to lead.

Having said that, the art of negotiation lies in avoiding opposition and seeking cooperation. Working to motivate leaders staff and church members is just like working with a horse, you can’t try to force the horse to do something. That’s most likely when the horse will spook, and when you’re likely to get hurt. Why? Because the horse realizes very quickly that you’re in this for your own needs. Church members, staff members, and leaders instinctively know if you were leading them for their benefit or for your benefit.

Make the right thing to do easy. The trainer tries to teach the horse good habits, to pick up the right routines. The horses know instinctively if you care about them.

You want to make the right responses easy and the wrong response difficult. Likewise when you’re training someone you should always be asking: “how can we make this easier to learn?” Your job is to look for obstacles and keep things moving.

Better training means less training. The very best trainers and educators want to make the process of learning fun and make the training seem almost a byproduct of the adventure of learning.

Leadership Is determined by the four C’s.

Command: at first all leaders need to be given instructions and directions so they know how to move forward. Pastors often shrink back from leading with strong direction and command. They have been deceived to think that church leadership must be soft and timid. The American church elder culture has lead many pastors to think that they are obligated to get everyones opinion and take a vote on what to think, and what the leadership culture of a church should look like.

Control: a leader needs to be able to control the direction that the culture is going. That doesn’t mean to be an autocratic leader. It means that you need to be casting direction and vision and being in clear about where things are going.

Communication: transmitting and sharing stories are a critical part of training and equipping your leaders. People are motivated by stories and examples of how you’ve been moved and how you experienced the change that you’re wanting to create for them.

Compassion: reaching out understand how your other leaders feel will create a sense of buying in and loyalty.

The four C’s are easy to enumerate, but difficult to practice. That’s why successful leaders are few I want to be leaders are many.

The four C’s and ideas for this article came from Allan J. Hamilton

Lead With Your Heart: “Lessons from a Life with Horses” Storey Publishing 2016