Back when we were first envisioning what equine empowered programs would entail, I knew leadership training would be the foundation from which everything else would emerge. From years of working with horses I already had a sense that leadership skills were one of their greatest gifts to humans. Through the creation of Empowered By Horses and Unbridled Potential programs, however, it soon became apparent that we would have to veer away from the traditional ideas of leadership and really honour the way of the herd. It wasn’t long after that the concept of heart centered leadership was born.
If you ask people to define leadership the response is generally wide and varied with both positive and negative traits included.
Some traits suggest leaders are bossy, inflexible, arrogant, overbearing, uncaring and pushy with a disinterest in listening to those he or she leads. Others say a leader must be inspiring, good at delegating, a visionary, hard working, influential and charismatic. In reality, many leaders are a confusing mix of the two, creating distrust and even fear from those that attempt to follow.
Heart-centered leadership is different.
Heart centered leadership is understanding that while the leadership role needs consistency, it is also fluid. In a horse herd there can be multiple leaders or, more accurately, a different leader may arise depending on the situation at hand. With this type of leadership, skill and character are more important than fixed titles.
A heart centered leader will recognize that others have certain strengths that he or she does not. They encourage and empower those in their community to bring forth and share their area of expertise and understand that conscious power sharing is a win-win situation for all.
Being a heart centered leader also means being a good listener. These leaders listen deeply, not with the intent to respond but to really hear the other members of the herd. It is about collaboration, respect and community rather than competition. With heart centered leadership everyone is important, feels worthy and has a sense of belonging.
Heart centered leadership is about tuning into the wisdom of your own heart, staying true to yourself in the face of opposition or disapproval. It is standing up when you may be the only one standing but also knowing when to hold your silence for the greater good of the herd. It is about being able to step into the shoes of another while compassionately walking together, side by side.
Finally, being a heart centered leader is a commitment to nonviolence. There is reverence for all life, and an appreciation for the earth. It is about being compassionate, courageous, and ready to do what needs to be done. Being a heart centered leader is a journey. It drives positive change, challenges our inner most thoughts and feelings to their highest potential, and empowers all those in its wake to do the same.
Join us at Anam Cara Learning Center to find out how you can enhance your life with equine empowered heart centered leadership.