This week one of my favourite leadership experts Nancy Lowery of The Natural Leader is having a work anniversary. Thanks to Linkedin for inviting me to celebrate.
The discussions about leadership vs management are always ongoing. Can the two co-exist? Leadership comprises of character. People value you – your decisions, your style and your qualities. They choose to follow you.
Management is positional power that directs and tells. People follow because they must.
I have met great leaders who are also great managers.
One of the most critical attributes of a great leader and a great manager is to be a great communicator. People who can share information so that it is understood intellectually, emotionally and spiritually… Ok I saw that…you reacted to the word spiritually. But it is true, the greatest leaders instill faith in their followers.
Trust is the relationship key to a great leader. We need to trust our leaders to do as they say. Trust is built over time and over consistent experiences. Experiential learning gives the opportunity to think, feel and believe. And it is fun. Creativity requires that we again get in touch with our imagination and insight. So goes globalization and climate change.
One of the side effects of fear is that people resort to bullying. It is epidemic in the corporate world where people are afraid for their jobs and afraid for their livelihoods. Managers who feel the pressure yell and belittle employees to get the work done. And the sad part is that they often don’t realize it. It is the way that were taught to “lead”.
On the business show, Demand More, Nancy shared with me a story that I found truly moving. A management team came to learn about leadership. One manager walked in angry and pompous. He did not need leadership training. When it was his turn to guide the horse, he acted the same as he did in the office. He stood in front of the horse and grabbed the lead rope. He grunted and started to pull,trying to stare the the horse into submission. He continued to pull and in response the horse reared up. He looked up to see this powerful animal’s hooves above him.
Yes everyone was safe.
The manager turned to his staff and asked the question, “Do I do that to you?” A resounding yes came from his team. Luckily someone took a picture of the moment that the horse reared up so he could always remember the feeling. From that point forward, this manager learned to lead. He walked beside the horse and his people, guiding, communicating and earning trust. And whenever he felt himself reverting to his previous style, he went back in his mind’s eye end remembered how Nancy taught him to lead.
The rules of business have all changed. So what?…there was a time that we loved to make up new games every time we played at recess. We lived our values and changed the rules to whatever game we played that day. Embrace this and play.
Nancy Lowery has the courage to bring back play to the corporate world. Her courses teach how we need to communicate with each other and with ourselves. She teaches us how to instill trust so that others want to follow us. We learn hands on with her beautiful herd. The Natural Leader guides us through the principles of horsemanship. We learn to travel together, to guide movements with gentle firmness. We learn how to build trust.
So to my inspirational mentor Nancy Lowery, Happy Work Anniversary!
You have reached out and encouraged so many others who share your commitment to creating a better world. You have the courage to lead us to a world where our leaders communicate, instill trust and guide us through collective natural values and ethics.
Do you know an inspirational leader? Tell us!
Yours in Corporate Responsibility,
thank you also to Rosie through whom I learned that horse people are good people.