Although I don’t talk out loud like Mr. Ed, I always have plenty to say. I’m pretty outspoken about my opinions about certain things-especially when I meet new people. Take me or leave me, but I am who I am.
Your challenge, when you come here to learn how to be a better leader is to discover what you need to change to get me to change.
There are a few things that I’ll require of you if you want to be good enough to lead me. See, I’m pretty confident in my own ability to take care of myself. I don’t really need you to tell me what to do. However, if you can prove to me that you’re a leader worth following, I promise to give you my very best.
Be clear. Know exactly what you are asking me to do. The more particular you are, the more I’ll try. For example, say you ask me to walk beside you. Do you want me to position myself so you are at my head, my shoulder, or my back? If you ask me to put two feet in a hula hoop, does that mean two feet at the same time? One foot on one try and another foot on a second try? Front feet, rear feet? Does it matter? All this might sound silly and obvious to you, but consider how you give directions to your employees or team members. How clear are you about the exact results that you’re looking for? No one likes to be micromanaged and told exactly how to do something, but communicating that very specific goal allows us to know exactly when we’ve accomplished it.
Be confident. Some say I am a very stallion-like mare, and I’ll admit to having a strong personality, but please explain to me why I should I follow a leader who’s not as good as I am. It makes no sense to me, but you humans do that. In fact, I think humans might be the only ones who willingly follow someone because of a title or position rather than because they earned the right to lead. Well, that won’t happen in the arena. You’ve got to show me that you can be clear and confident in dealing with me. Show me that you’re aware of your emotions and how they affect me and that you’ve got them under control. Don’t the folks you work with deserve the same thing from their leader? Are you starting to see how I can help you?
Be consistent. Consistency builds trust. If you ask me to do something one way on Monday, then you should ask me the same way on Thursday. If we’re out on a trail and you let me snack on the grass here & there on Saturday, I’ve learned that behavior is acceptable to you. If you yank me back and get mad at me for doing the same thing on Tuesday, that’s not very fair. You told me on Saturday that it was OK to grab grass. Things work the same way back at the office. Teach your team members what to expect from you and from each other. Don’t suddenly change the “rules” on them. When they can count on you to be consistent in the way you deal with them, they, like me, will be willing to give you their best.
I’ve got a lot more thoughts on what makes a good leader, but nice girls don’t tell all. (Wink.) These are some of the most important ones to me, but there are other horses in my herd who define a good leader a bit differently. That’s the neat thing about us horses. We’re all different, just like each of you. We have preferences in how we like to be led, different tendencies to follow, and varying needs of feedback and encouragement. My bet is that you could learn a lot from a horse.
Why don’t you make a plan to come & see me? www.HerdWise.net is my web address.