I have recently started taking horse riding/ground work lessons. Working with a horse is VERY humbling experience because they are smart, way smart and BIG! Like 1500lbs big. They don’t apologize for the size or the way they operate and you have to earn their respect to get them to do the things they need to. Add to this they are a prey animal which means they are constantly sure something is trying to kill them and yea it’s a new experience.
For me, I am one of those people who feels confident with everything I do. Even if I am not sure, I go in with a confidence that I can handle the task. Training a horse has taught me to be humble, focus on 1 task at a time and to learn that I don’t know it all!!
Being a leader is alot like horse training, You have to be willing to humble yourself, stop believing you know it all and take it 1 task at a time.
As leaders we often fall into the trap that as leaders we know it all! That there is nothing that we don’t know, don’t get me wrong being confident is important! However, being over confident can be deadly!
For example, if I am trying to back my horse up, this is a big deal for them because they can’t see what’s behind them and then have to trust me to not put them in a place that will get them killed. And trust me ANYTHING can kill them, leaves, dirt, air.. really!! So the horse has to trust me to not put him in harms way. Just like my team has to trust me that I won’t do anything to put them in harms way.
For people, this is obviously different than horses. For our team, they want to know that their work is going to be acknowledged, that when they do something right they are going to get the kudos they deserve. Alternatively if something goes wrong, as a leader we will want to absorb that. We don’t want to pick on our team unless it’s a serious error that continues to happen and then it becomes a performance issue. Protecting our team is very important!!
Learning is also important as a leader. We must continue to push ourselves to grow in all areas, even ones we feel good about. I highly recommend that as a leader you step out of your comfort zone and learn a skill that is not something you would normally do. This can be just about anything, but being humbled by a skill that we aren’t good at is soo good for all of us!
Learning to humble ourselves and learn something new will make us a better person AND leader!
If you need me I’ll be watching horse training videos and trying to get my 1500lb friend to back up!