Leadership has so many variables and so many paths that even as a process allows it to emerge. I just finished the Tao of Equus A Woman's Journey of Healing and Transformation through the Way of the Horse by Linda Kohanov.
I found this to be an incredible book about self-reflection, discovery, intuitive talents, mysterious gifts, philosophy and about authentic leadership.
She rarely mentions leadership in specific large context – and when she does it is often in the sense of how many people view working with horses. That is, the human must demonstrate who is in charge - showing the horse is safe to follow or be lead. With careful, creative and intentional language she dispels so much of this and instead reveals the delicate balance of soul and purpose, spirit and compassion, nature and partnership.
There is a section titled, “The Tao of Leadership.” A parallel emerged to what is happening now as more female leaders are taking center stage. While some do so using what we often think of as masculine tactics, others do so using what many consider female strengths. What if the best kind of leadership was a balance of both? When referring to horse trainers and leadership she writes,
“The most humane methods espoused by male and female trainers stem from rekindling a relationship with nature based on collaboration and sensitivity rather than fear and intimidation. Consciously or unconsciously they develop qualities associated with what Taoist philosophers characterize as yin, or feminine styles of leadership to balance the yang, or masculine qualities, emphasized in the human world.”
While the book is not intended to be a lesson on leadership, and I suspect it will speak more to those who are seeking philosophical or spiritual enlightenment or alternative ways to heal from trauma, as well as those who have a deep love for horses, it offers a powerful message about how we direct others and its affects. It also reveals how through collaboration we can reach zeniths.
When we can attune – when we can resonate with others on a level that includes true understanding, respect and a desire to commit to a shared purpose, the path for potential can open wide.
In full disclosure, I have recently found myself amazed, drawn and inspired by horses in general and specifically a few named, Eden, Apollo, Willow and Trooper.
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