Video #1 by Monty Roberts - Riding an unbroken wild horse in 3 days
In pursuit of learning to understand leadership, some awesome guidance I can give is to look at the animal kingdom. Horses are a great place to start. If you are not familiar with Monty Roberts check out YouTube and search his name or "The Horse Whisperer."
Monty has taken his leadership, communication and trust building skills with horses to the executive suite. I have learned a LOT by watching his videos. They taught me how to understand and work with my Bloodhound through the building of trust, respect and non- verbal communication.
While horses and any animal for that matter cannot use words to communicate with us they CAN say a LOT with body language. This is what they understand. But, we are animals as well and language has been for wo/man an evolution of the brain. What I mean is that at one point we didn't have language just like animals. We don't talk about it in the workplace but it's still going on this non-verbal communication.
There is safety in numbers for animals and when placed outside of the group much danger exists and can result in death. While we think that humans in the office, sporting a higher brain capability, should understand when we kick a member out, they don't. The primitive brain now kicks in and fear takes over that they, too, will be ousted and placed into a dangerous world alone. This fear can overtake an office if release of a member is not understood by the group.
But, in the world of horses, while a member is kicked out they are watched, somewhat close by and are welcomed back in when they show they can once again be trusted.
This concept of how release of team members in the workplace can spark fear in those who remain really hit home with me at one job. The company had a few year prior experienced a large layoff. One manager told me about the event and how it hurt her to let go of some of her staff members. She was really hurt by having to do this. Moreover, she now exhibited this fear I speak of even though she was in charge. It didn't matter that she was the one doing the release. The fear was there because it could have been her, too. She lost trust in those she worked for. It is for this reason that leadership should do all they can to NOT release team members. Rather, work hard to teach, build and lift. This not only protects the employee, their career and ability to sustain themselves but also the organization and culture.
However, there are times when employees don't care and must be released. Prior to release give time where you can to how you will handle the emotional side of those who still are working with you. If fear sets in within the team work a plan where all are expected to support and recognize the talents and value of team members. Stand in their place. What would you want? Maybe you could sit the team down and give them the ability to ask questions. Do keep in mind that the person who was released deserves privacy and you can't say why you released someone. Also, just because you released someone doesn't mean you were correct in doing so. What if it was your failure to lead and inability to listen that really was the problem? Respect the person who left by keeping your answers general in nature and then watch ALL of Monty's videos for some great leadership lessons from horses.
Photo Credit: www.freeimages.com, caress-1374367-640x480.jpg