It was a terribly exciting weekend at Legibra. I use the word terrible because I’m aching in places I never thought possible, and I learned plenty of leadership lessons from horses.
I know it sounds like I’m telling a 3 in 1 story but please bear with me…I don’t get this excited often. So where do we begin?
From the moment I joined Legibra, I could always sense the determination and aspiration for growth. Naturally I wasn’t surprised when the CEO announced our move to a new and better location.
Still, nothing could prepare me for the stunning design and austerity of the new location.
As if that was not enough, after checking in on our new office, Legibra treated us to horse riding session at the Hardy Stud– a horse riding school located in Nairobi’s affluent suburb of Langata owned and managed by Tony Muthama.
Now, I have always thought that horse riding is about sitting on the horse and riding into the sunset but I was in for a shock. Apparently, as in any sport, horse riding transcends the physical and technical aspect, to involve your emotions and intellect.
More importantly the core concepts of learning to ride a horse can be applied by any leader looking to be more effective physically, technically, emotionally and intellectually in the organization. Here’s 3 important lessons on leadership learned from horse riding.
Three Leadership Lessons Learnt from Riding Horses
- Positioning Yourself
When lunging a horse, it moves around you in a circle on the end of a lunge line. Lunging is a great way to help your horse safely burn extra energy without you riding it. It’s also a great way to teach a horse about obedience. To lunge a horse, you need 3 key items:
- A horse trained to lunge
- Lunge whip
- Your voice
The strategy here is to position yourself and get the horse lunging around the arena in the direction that you want. In this simple exercise, you learn the importance of positioning yourself in leadership, having the right tools and reinforcing your message. While lunging, we noticed that the horse would stop whenever the ‘lungee’ lost concentration or changed body posture. Similarly, in an organization, it is crucial for the leader to stay focused on the task at hand and frequently reinforce the goals to avoid distraction.
- Keep Your Eyes Open
Although horses cannot really talk, they give cues on how they are feeling and what they want. For example, a horse that isn’t pleased by what you are doing will fold its ears back. Similarly, in an organization, it’s important to sense what the team members are up to. Are they motivated? Or are they dragging their feet to accomplish a particular task? Also, when it comes to market trends, a leader should be tuned to the shift and prepare to respond accordingly.
- Clear Communication
Just as we mentioned earlier, it’s important to let your horse know where you are going, but what is even more important is to reinforce this message frequently. In an organization setting, it’s very easy to set goals and forget about them, but this rarely gets the job done. To achieve set goals, a leader must communicate clearly and consistently, reminding the rest of the team where they are going, how to get there and why they are going there. At Legibra, the CEO- Felix Mbugua- constantly reminds us our vision, to become the biggest and most competent web solutions provider in Africa.
We capped off the day with a late lunch at the Hub Karen as we mingled with the new members of the team. Needless to say, there couldn’t have been a better way to usher in a new chapter for Legibra.
Here’s to growth!