Does your manager have a bossy attitude? Then, like when being bossy with a horse, he/she can forget about being a good leader and achieve the right results.
Leadership and horse riding have a lot in common. You only steer with the reins. But if you pull them too tight, you’ll get rearing up behavior and you’ll achieve nothing. Why? Because rearing up may be linked to fright, aggression, disobedience, nonexperienced rider, or pain.
Read on and you will find out the 3 golden tips to prove leading people is like riding a horse. And if you hate the corporate world and want to be your own boss, read the last section of this article.
You have to learn how to ride a horse
Any novice knows that a horse will not always do what you want. Those grass blades are at their best when you’re in the saddle. It takes years of practice to race through the equestrian center as a combination. Think ahead, shouts the instructor. What? You are already happy when the four-legged friend starts moving under your ass. People sometimes think: those riders don’t do anything, they’re on it and the horse does everything. But sorry, that’s not how it works.
What it all comes down to is that you have to learn leadership. Fortunately, before or after the umpteenth deadline crisis, you will be able to clear your head by climbing on a horse. In the process, you will have gained inspiration for new methods, but also about how to enthuse a group of people and regulate it at the same time.
What is your ‘horse management style’?
Managers might think they are always clear, absolutely not conflict-avoiding, and also not laissez-faire, letting go of the reins. They do think it is very important that they listen to what is going on in the workplace. Inspiring leadership is the ultimate you can achieve as a chef. Just like with horse riding, transfer your energy to another person in the right way. Collaboration yields the best results. Rather inspire than command. Sounds nice, but it doesn’t happen automatically, you tend to choose the easy way, to convince people with my vision. Then you skip a step, people have to want to work with and for you, just like a horse can only excel of its own volition.
How to keep the reins?
It’s all about contact, something you can guard well with reins. Not too much, not too little. In horse riding, you have three ways to maintain contact, simultaneously: your legs, your sitting (position), and the reins. You set a horse in motion with your legs, you motivate. At the same time, you sit quietly in your saddle, which as a manager means that you do not block but facilitate. You only steer with the reins. If you pull them too tight, you will get rearing up and you will achieve nothing. That is very important because when you don’t you lose your direction. In the workplace, this means: continuously monitoring what is going on, not just through performance appraisals. Give your people some space when something goes well. Sometimes you have to go a bit further, but if you keep the reins tight for too long, your horse no longer trusts you, and an employee can get burned out.
How to take charge
As a starting manager, you might have thought: I’m the boss, and they do what I say. It doesn’t work that way at all. Groups look at you as a new manager in silence, with no reactions immediately. It’s the same with horse riding: if you sit down with an attitude of ‘I’m the boss’, well then you can forget about it, that is counterproductive, especially with mares. You have to become a leader, which is different from being a boss. You have to give direction in the right way, know which way you are going. And your attitude is consistent and positive. A boss only commands, a leader directs. It’s easier to be authoritarian, but not more fun!
Active listening is one of the most important things
It is indeed a difficult part. At a certain point, the instructor asks you to feel what your horse is saying. What is that man talking about? You feel nothing at all! Yet the penny drops, when I drive to the left, I feel different things than to the right. You have to interpret. A horse reacts, tells with his body, almost as hard to listen to as in humans. Sometimes it’s the words themselves, sometimes there’s a message underneath. Active listening, asking questions in between – what does this person mean? – that can take you further. You have to make a translation. That makes it fun to work together, then you have reached a point together. A horse has more fun when it is heard. When riding horses, you give continuous feedback, as a manager you have to do that too.
Don’t look back, think ahead
In riding lessons, this is constantly called out, especially when there are problems. Suppose a horse is startled. The last thing to do is pull the reins and stop. Never! Just then think and move forward, give legs, forward with your hands, give confidence. The horse thinks ‘oh it’s okay, you’re the leader’. Pulling on the reins does not help, then the animal will find it really scary. Besides, he’s stronger, then you’re gone. Keep calm, don’t look behind you.
If an employee walks in and tells you that he has certain rights, and has always had, he has the wrong one in front of him. You don’t care about the past, we’re going to solve it differently. Everyone has to deal with difficult horses or employees. Stay calm, pay attention, look forward, solution-oriented. Solving forward as a manager can be done in two ways: always keeping an eye on the future and self-control when things don’t go the way you want. Self-control is an all too often underestimated quality of successful leaders. It urges you to make short-term sacrifices (for example, by not giving in to your anger) in favor of long-term benefits. Staying positive pays off more.
3 golden tips
1. Sugar cubes – You should not just give sugar cubes or compliments for nothing: if a horse or employee has not performed, it will not work as a reward, and you lose your strength as a leader. Expressing sincere appreciation works better than any other reward (even better than a financial reward).
2. Problem horses – Here we quote horse whisperer Monty Roberts: ‘A lot of people come to me and say: I have a stupid horse. Then I immediately suspect where the problems lie: probably with the person and not with the horse. It is very instructive to look at yourself, to ask yourself whether you contributed to the origin of the problem. There are no problem horses, but there are horses that have problems with the behavior of people.”
To be a better horse rider, you have to be honest with yourself. Because in order to work on your weaknesses, you need to know those weaknesses. A starting manager in particular needs to work on self-knowledge, which will make a big difference in dealing with difficult staff, ‘difficult’ then becomes solvable.
3. Every horse is different – Every horse, every situation, and every person requires their own approach. There is no one-size-fits-all management style that applies to everyone (human or horse). The trick is to look carefully and listen to what is needed, such as more or less control, and to adjust your behavior accordingly. Situational leadership is tailor-made.
When you are familiar with horses and horse riding, you will easily relate to the above comparison. If you are not, like I am, then it becomes a little bit more difficult, but not impossible. I personally learned a lot about handling people.
And then there are people who cannot relate at all to the above story and would never learn how to change their management style, simply because they are not interested. They might think that they are doing alright already, which might be true or not.
Either way, when this is not for you, then you can always become your own boss by starting an internet business. I have done so with the aid of the world’s best training program and have published a full review. If interested, you can access this review by clicking here. Who knows how your life will change!