Thursday, February 20, 2014

15th reason to be in AWE - self-study - how are your leadership skills?

What kind of a leader are you? How many different leadership roles do you "play?" Are you always the same leader, or do you sometimes change your style or volume or energy level, etc., depending on whom you are leading and to where you are leading them? We all learned long ago in one class or another that there are many many different "types" of learners. And so, when we are in our leadership positions, if we can be different types of leaders in certain situations, we might be better leaders!
This is what the horses reminded me of yesterday.
Here is what happened. The horses had all had their stall/grain time, and it was time to turn them out for the night. Two women were doing that. There were 3 horses in the riding arena, and they were supposed to go galloping outside to eat their supper once the gate was opened for them. But they didn't. They were scared. The trees were making those weird creaking noises again. I had seen 17 deer in those trees a few hours earlier. I don't know why they were scared. They go in and out of this gate/door several times every single day. and sometimes they get scared.
So, the first woman began to move quickly behind the horses, clapping her hands, slapping her jeans, you get the picture. Trying to chase the already scared horses out of their comfort/shelter and into a very scary place with the tree monsters and who knows what else! JUST LIKE A PREDATOR!  Right?
The other woman tried something different. She became a trusted leader to the horses. She walked in front of the horses and visualized that the horses would follow her as she walked with assertiveness, willpower, and energy (AWE) out the gate and past the scary treeline. And yes, the horses followed her. They followed their trusted leader. More like a PARTNER!
So there you have two very different leadership ideas. Chasing will work in certain situations. But this was not that situation.
In horsemanship, in AWE, hundreds of situations come up in every single session. you begin to recognize certain situations more quickly, and understand them. And with 18 horses here, you also have the opportunity to observe how different horses handle a situation. And how a leader can try different leadership ideas for different horses.
At first, many people just think it's silly to compare horsemanship to how we treat the humans in our lives. But it doesn't take long before they get it. We aren't comparing horses to humans. We don't bring the horses into our houses and have them sit and watch TV with us. Nope. Horses are horses; humans are humans.
This is about communication, relationships, partnerships, leadership. It's about being in AWE. Assertiveness, Willpower, Energy
Assertiveness (not aggressive, not timid). Willpower (not physical force). Energy (not too fast not too slow, not too sharp not too dull, not too much not too little).
We follow the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Levels as closely as we can, though we do not have a permanent Parelli Instructor here. Bryna Helle, Licensed Two Star Parelli Instructor, stays with us from time to time and leads workshops and lessons for everyone who is in AWE. But for consistency for both horses and humans in AWE, we do try to follow Parelli Levels. And we often find ourselves in leadership roles. Always with the horses. Parelli says it's a partnership, but someone has to be the leader and it really needs to be the human. Human 51%, horse 49%. Sometimes we find ourselves in a leadership role here with other humans too. To me, that is much more challenging. But the horses are helping me figure it all out. How we communicate with other humans is important in all parts of our lives. for our safety, our happiness, our success. If we are too impatient or too aggressive with the horses, we are probably too impatient or too aggressive with humans. We might be able to get them to do something, but are they doing it because they like doing things with us or because they are afraid of us? hey, are we talking about the horses or the humans???????????????  If our assertiveness helps the horses feel safe, brave and comfortable; then our assertiveness probably has that affect on humans too. If we are so timid that we just let the horses walk all over us, well, . . .

But when you are here in AWE, you can explore and experiment with these qualities. You can develop excellent horsemanship skills and grow personally & professionally, all at the same time. And the horses really are the best, most natural and honest teachers of all.
So, are you ready to evaluate your leadership and communication ideas?
Be in AWE!
No previous horse experience required.
The horses will show you everything you need to know.
About life.