How do baseball and horses connect to leadership?
Well, a San Jose Mercury News article about Giants’ catcher Buster Posey says it all.
His teammates describe Posey as calm and tranquil. They say that his even temperament settles other players down in stressful situations and that “his messages are short, precise, and tend to hit the spot.” Javier Lopez says, “There’s no panic in his eyes, regardless of the situation. We all pick up on each other’s body language, and if you have a guy that’s a little nervous or tense, you’re going to inherit that tension. He’s able to separate that.”
If I were up to bat, I would want Buster Posey to have my back!
Whether they realize it or not, these players are describing Posey’s leadership on the field. With a team of players on a baseball field or a herd of horses living together, all mammals can sense when we come in contact with an individual’s emotional stability and trustworthy inner nature. When we notice someone possessing that grace and peacefulness, we want to be near them. Their clear energy regulates our own nervous systems. With horses and humans alike, true leaders emerge when their energy is calm, the communications are direct, they are keenly aware of their environment, and they are congruent, meaning their internal state matches how they behave. Leadership like this creates a sense of safety and reliability.
The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, says that humans are the only mammals who follow unstable leaders. Our leadership begins with how we take care of ourselves. If we create and maintain a stable and balanced inner world, those around will naturally feel that energy and want to be with us.
Just imagine what your family life would be like if you could parent with this style of leadership. Just think about your work day if you brought these primitive mammalian leadership lessons to the office.
When we have the opportunity to work with horses, they give us immediate feedback about our leadership style. As herd animals, they are incredibly sensitive to emotional states and the signs of physiological agitation. A short time interacting with a horse allows us to experiment with news ways of communicating and leading from within.
Beth Killough and Susan McCusker are the co-founders of The Circle Up Experience. They work with horses to help humans reclaim personal leadership and transform their own herds. You can read more about their work here, or find them on Facebook.