What Leaders can Learn from Horses??

Recently I was at a very large seminar down in San Jose, California and during the breaks we were able to meet with other speakers and trainers and I met a lady who trains horses in Canada. Growing up we had thoroughbreds that we would race and train so I quickly connected with this other speaker. She was telling me about her training program and how she now teaches leadership training through her horse training program. She quickly had my attention.

She said “old school training of horses is to force them to do what you what them to do. Same goes for old school way of trying to lead employees.”

She continued to explain:


When you approach a horse, they are asking themselves two questions.

  • Can I trust you?
  • Can you lead me?

The first question is about safety. A number of horses have been hurt by humans before and they want to make sure you will not do the same thing….the same goes for your employees.

The second question is about going places together. A horse will get very frustrated, very fast if the rider keeps changing directions and does not know how to give clear directions…..the same goes for your employees.

The horse pays very close attention to the way the rider carries themselves, the tone of their voice, their body language, their actions and the way they are treated….the same goes for your employees.

It’s not about forcing your employees to do what you what them to do.

Show your employees by your actions that they can trust you.

Know where you going, give them clear directions and reward them for helping you to where you want to go and they will take your lead.

Question: What are you doing currently to answer yes to those two questions for your current employees? What can you do to answer yes to those 2 questions for new recruits?

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Derek Schenck