S2E14: Jude Jennison reads ‘Leading Through Uncertainty’; Leading from the heart and soul
Chapter fourteen on Leading from the heart and soul explores Jude’s own experience of learning through uncertainty, the challenges she has faced looking after horses and running a business.
The chapter explains the need to embody our leadership, to notice when we are in flow and when we are not and to keep shifting and learning from experience.
Here is an extract:
When Kalle arrived in December 2011, I sensibly put her in a full livery yard so that someone else could look after her, and I could learn from them. With my lack of horse knowledge, I needed all the support I could get, and I thought this would ease the pressure for me. It didn’t. The livery yard handled their horses very differently, using coercion and control. I learned a lot about how I did not want to be in relationship with Kalle. To be clear, these were kind people who loved their horses, but in the same way that people in business use force and control to get people to do things, they expected their horses to follow the rules, too. I had different ideas and different values. I wanted to lead Kalle in a way that enabled her to keep her majestic spirit and to live and work with free will. I want the same for people in my team, too. The relationship I wanted to have with Kalle was one of partnership, respect, trust, love and connection. I refused to resort to force or dominance, but I was unskilled in knowing another way. That’s what uncertainty often brings – a need for trial and error. Fail, recover and begin again.
In the first few days, Kalle ran rings around me, sometimes literally. She was often on her toes, spinning round in front of me, snorting in fear. She spooked at everything. I mirrored her fear, terrified she might trample me or knock me over. I had no idea how to look after a horse, and I was finding my way, working it out as I went along. I ignored the books and the contradictory horsemanship advice and followed my intuition. I drew on every ounce of my corporate leadership experience to understand Kalle’s needs and develop a relationship. I knew that every time Kalle took the lead, it was because she didn’t have confidence in my leadership, so I had to keep stepping up. I listened and paid attention to her feedback and tried a different approach.
The yard staff became increasingly irritated with me for not following their coercive instructions. They said she was naughty and needed to be slapped. I saw her fear and wanted to help her find her confidence instead. I knew that my leadership and my own confidence in uncertainty would be the breakthrough that we both needed. The control they used with their horses, they also tried to use with their clients like me. While other clients did as they were told and slapped their horses, I refused to. My stress levels began to rise. I so badly wanted to fit in, but I was clearly very different, not least because I didn’t ride. I wanted to learn from their experience, but I knew that when I followed my instincts and really listened to Kalle, we understood what our way was. We were co-sensing and co-shaping our future.
True relationship, true partnership, true co-creation.
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