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Business Growth
Jun 15, 2021

Energy Is Contagious.

Sponsored Content provided by June Gunter - Co-Founder and CEO, TeachingHorse

When you walk into a room full of colleagues or clients to share an idea or proposal, what happens to the energy in the room? Do people lean forward and engage with you, or do they look down and avoid eye contact? Do they turn their screens on or off? How you respond to their energy will determine the outcome of the conversation. One of the most difficult aspects of being a leader is recognizing that the energy you bring to being a leader is a choice, not a reaction. At TeachingHorse, we work with leaders that master the energy they choose to bring to guiding others through uncertainty.

I was working with a leader last week that struggles with bringing “too much” energy to certain situations. When leaders bring excited, anxious, or emotionally charged energy to important conversations, it can be distracting and lead to a loss of focus on the issue at hand. This leader’s goal was to practice moderating her energy to create focused momentum for moving in the direction she set. Her teacher for the session was our horse, Grace. The leader’s task was to guide Grace around the pasture at walk.
 
Keep in mind, Grace is at liberty (meaning not wearing a halter or lead line). Horses take direction from the head and energy from behind. To accomplish this task, you guide the horse by looking where you want to go and then moving at the pace you want them to go. We give you a tool referred to as a flag create forward momentum. If you make small motions with the flag, the horse will move forward at a walk. If you make big movements with the flag, it is like standing on the accelerator.
 
As you can imagine, my client’s first attempt was true to form. She stood on the accelerator and Grace was off to the races! As we stood in awe of her beauty, we laughed out loud together at the predictability of the response given – it was what my client was working on during the session. 

Whenever I prepare clients to engage in this activity, I model it for them so they can see how it is done. Like most high achieving leaders, my client wanted her experience to look just like mine and put enormous pressure on herself to perform perfectly while she was learning. That is what created the excess energy. If we put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, the others we are leading experience the too much pressure to perform as well. The result is overreaction and loss of focus. Remember, your energy is contagious.


June Gunter, Ed.D., is the Co-Founder and CEO of TeachingHorse, LLC. Established in 2004, TeachingHorse offers a unique approach to leadership development that is inspired by how horses lead their herds. Our mission is to bring horses and people together to discover more effective ways of leading that create healthy communities. TeachingHorse has worked with over 5,000 leaders from around the world to develop skills required for moving confidently through uncertainty. June has worked in the field of leadership and organization development for over 35 years and holds a Doctor of Education degree in the field of Adult Learning from North Carolina State University. She is also the Co-Founder of Go-od Consulting, LLC.

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