It isn’t. The two are nothing like each other.
A strength, and indeed your greatest strength, emerges from a beautiful blend of your talents, skills, and personality.
You cannot will yourself to be strong in one area and have it magically happen overnight. It is an evolutionary process that you must nourish and grow.
A strength is not like a weakness that you can develop a strategy to fix or reform. If you have it, you can only be conscious of it, and use it as part of your leadership style.
If you don’t know what your natural leadership strengths are, you will not be able to get people to follow you.
So much of our literature about leadership falls into the “one size fits all” class of leadership training. In reality, true leadership is not like that at all.
Each great leader finds their own strength and uses it effectively in its own unique way. German Chancellor Angel Merkel does not lead the same way Queen Elizabeth II leads, but both are strong leaders in their own way. Both Clint Eastwood and Justin Beiber have followers, but both lead differently as well.
All that can really be said of leadership is that to lead effectively, you must use your own unique strengths and talents.
Knowing what those are can be the hardest part of figuring out how to lead best for you. At HorseDream Canada, we help people figure that out by encouraging them to work with horses.
That is because even if you don’t know your own personality, the horse does. They will help you see who you really are.
One of the greatest leadership researchers of all time, the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton of Gallup, was asked about a common thread he found in the more than 20,000 interviews he had conducted with leaders in his lifetime.
He said that leaders need to know their strengths just as a carpenter knows his tools or a physician knows the instruments at her disposal.
“What great leaders have in common is that each truly knows his or her strengths – and can call on the right strength at the right time,” he responded.
He always refused to give a definitive list of characteristics to define leaders, because he insisted that none existed.
The way horses help our clients find their leadership strengths is the way they respond to what they observe.
Horses are natural leaders in their own right. They trust their senses and they know themselves. Their entire herd lifestyle is based on the trust of each other and their leader and their clear communication so every horse knows where it is going.
Consider the horse and how it lives. It is powerful and strong and can ably defend itself, but. But it can also move seamlessly into a herd, and move as one with it. A horse can be agitated or calm, and go from one state to the other very quickly. It can be alert and yet thoughtful.
A horse does not know or use ego. They are what they are. Their strength is a natural part of themselves.
When you work with horses, you cannot help but be impacted by how they can stand as leader at one moment and follower the next. They know instinctively when to use their natural strength and when to submit to the rules of the herd.
We can learn much about our own personality and leadership strengths when we interact with them. When you partner with a horse, you must lead with your natural intent, force and movement towards where you want to go.
By asking your horse to move in different directions, you can explore the effectiveness of your leadership strengths. Your goal is to direct the horse to take you where you want to go, and you want to achieve that goal using as little energy as possible.
As you determine how to do that, you will discover your strengths, and this self-knowledge will stay with you when you return to lead your employees.
HorseDream Canada, founded by Susan Wilson, provides high impact, quality leadership and team development experiences for individuals, teams, leaders and companies. It is part of an internationally renowned Horse Assisted Education Program provided transformative learning experiences around the world. HorseDream Canada is a division of I DO BUSINESS. Inc., a social purpose business. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch for our new book, Leadership 93/7 coming soon!