I’m in the leadership business and one of my teaching partners is larger than life. He is handsome, opinionated and has a great personality. Some might describe him as expressive, emotional and a bit flighty. We have a special relationship developed over 10 years of working together. He trusts me and I would not do anything to compromise his trust-the foundation of our bond.
My partner in teaching leadership is my horse, Ringo. Ringo is one of the best teachers I’ve worked with in my (too many years to count) teaching career. His approach to teaching is almost always through the use of experiential learning techniques. He’s not big on lecture. In fact, Ringo doesn’t believe in teaching by telling, rather teaching by doing – demonstration and practice followed by immediate feedback, a behavior modeling approach.
Ringo is a relational kind of teacher who believes in building trust and maintaining a safe learning environment. We share the philosophy that everyone has the potential to lead and take on a leadership role at some place in our lives whether that be in a traditional role with an official title or as a parent serving as a volunteer coach. To effectively lead means to know who and what we are about down deep so that we can call upon our strengths and admit our challenges- if only to ourselves.
We believe in the importance of this personal awareness or mindful leadership. While Ringo isn’t a mind reader, he can sense when a leader is fearful or hesitant. He can help leaders see their competitive and collaborative tendencies; their ability to motivate; their ability to inspire a team. And he can sense an empathetic leader who knows how to build trust. And when he meets this kind of leader, he is willing to follow.