How many times have you thought to yourself, why is this not working? When you manage a team its easy to find what I call ‘tried and tested’ ways of doing things, whether its asking people to work extra hours, or stop what they are doing to help someone else. I know from my experience as a manager since the age of 19, that there was always a ‘go to list’ of methods that almost always saw me get the result I wanted.
Whilst times are very different to when I was first a manager, people really haven’t changed. The curious thing about people is that they can change how they react to you and sometimes the old methods stop working completely.
Recently, I’ve been on an executive coaching programme. This wasn’t a normal executive coaching programme as this one was with Leaders by Nature Ltd, who use a small herd of four horses to teach business executives how to become better leaders.
In my second session with the horses, I was working with Kalle, a 16h2 black german Trakehner mare. She’s quite an animal and her cousin was the original Lloyds stallion (in case you’re interested).
In one exercise I was asked to lead Kalle with a long lead rope around the arena. Now the way I was asked was not the way I would have normally led a horse with the top of my hand beneath her chin. You see with Jude’s coaching, I had a lengthy lead rope and had to keep my rope in a ‘big smile’ hung loosely but not so loose that I or Kalle could trip over. To achieve the exercise I had to have Kalle’s absolute trust and ask her to follow me and walk around the perimeter.
During my first attempt I struggled to get her to move away with me. Then I tried from the other side. Kalle moved willingly.
In that moment I had renewed a valuable leadership lesson.
If it’s not working don’t just stand there and will for it to happen. No amount of me verbally encouraging Kalle to shift her 600kg body was going to convince her. She knew her own mind. What I had to do was to try something else.
- How often do we as leaders do the same thing and wonder why we see the same result that we didn’t want?
- How often do we wonder what we are doing wrong, rather than ask ourselves what we can do differently?
How often do we waste time and energy when all we need to do is turn another way and see what happens when we try this direction.
I’ve learned many valuable leadership lessons over the past weeks and I look forward to sharing them with you.
My tip for today is to try something new and learn from Kalle.
If you need any assistance with any aspect of managing your team, please give us a call on 01527 909436.