Finding True Leadership Through Feel and Science

True Leadership Through Science and Feel

Leadership - A Catalyst For Success

The catalyst for many of our successes has come from bringing together leadership and horse psychology.

The combination has not just impacted our progress with horses, but also our personal and work lives too.

Sometimes quicker and greater than we could ever have imagined.

A Traditional Approach To Leadership Is Limiting

We can study past leaders and the qualities that made them great.

And there are plenty of ‘how to’ guides on techniques for developing presence and body language.

These are traditional sources that have been applied to varying effect in organisations forever and a day.

The implication is that you just need to mimic the attributes of a good leader and you will somehow become one yourself.

Personally I have met more than enough leaders manufactured this way.

These fake leaders have been the prime reason I end up disengaging and eventually resigning from an organisation.

And according to research surveys, this is the norm.  People rarely leave their organisation, they leave the leadership that they are experiencing.

Fake Leadership Doesn’t Work With Horses Either

I have found that horses have the same attitude to their leadership.

But of course they don’t have the option to physically leave.

Techniques and systems can get you so far.

Threats, intimidation, and pain can achieve compliance.

But that’s not leadership and relying on these methods at best limits potential and at worst ends up a wreck.

Defining Leadership

I like the definitions that talk about leadership with character, leadership that honours and inspires confidence in those that they lead while influencing them to enthusiastically work towards shared goals.

These sorts of definitions take me back to the teachings of people like Tom Dorrance, the man many consider as the father of the modern natural horsemanship movement.

Tom always emphasised he was all about the horse, the one that he was asking to accept him as leader.

Once he had the trust respect and communication happening, then he had a willing and enthusiastic follower.

No battles, no force, no resentment…just commitment to shared goals.

Outstanding Leadership Is More Than Techniques

Leadership is a vast subject with many elements that influence how good we are at it.

Whether, focused on leading people or horses, techniques can get you so far but it is development of a deeper understanding, connection and feel that will make you outstanding.

True Leadership Through Feel and Science

So what sort of things am I talking about?

Well, there are lots of subject areas to learn that can impact the quality of your leadership.

They fall into two broad categories that I call feel and science.

Leadership Science

There is real gold to be found in the findings of modern science.


Because modern science is making great advances in revealing the mechanics of leadership - how things work, how we think and learn, what causes us to feel what we do, what drives our behaviour, and then how to make change happen.

Basically all the things that empower us to become better leaders to ourselves and to others.

The human body is a complex combination of neurological centres, behaviour influencing chemicals, reasoning, thoughts, and emotions.

Understanding how they operate and how they can be managed, allows you to get them working for you rather than against you.

This is priceless for developing leadership over yourself and others, including horses.

Here are a few examples of relevant areas:

  • Emotional fitness.
  • Neuroscience.
  • Triggers and effects of body chemicals.
  • Forming and breaking patterns of behaviour and response.
  • Aligning things to work together instead of against each other.

Learning Leadership Feel

We also have to understand that quality leadership is only achievable when done with the right heart and motivation.

This is another area where a lot of work has been done and the findings are equally relevant to leading horses as they are to leading people.

Leadership isn’t about management or being the boss, it’s about influencing in the right way and motivating from within, not from external force.

This requires development of our own character.

For example we need to grow in the areas of kindness, respect, patience, forgiveness, responsibility and selflessness to name just a few.

We also need to consider ways of building self-esteem and confidence, accountability and a commitment to excellence within those that we are leading.

And this cannot happen without communication and trust, meaning and purpose, honour and acknowledgement.

These are the intangible things that we can learn about in order to get insight on how they are developed with different personality types.

The knowledge is then a guide for application and practice.

Not Easy

The intellectual part is to distil the complex findings into things that can be learnt and applied.

Then it is down to application and practice, coupled with openness to the feedback received.

But the really difficult bit can be taking responsibility to change and grow as a leader that your followers require you to be.

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