TEAM BUILDING WITH HORSES FOR HEALTHY WORK RELATIOSHIPS
Prioritizing Healthy Work Relationships by cultivating Workplace Well-Being is more important than ever as we go forward in responding to the challenge of Covid 19. Horses can help. As things begin to open up, Team Building with Horses in a safe, distanced outdoor setting is a way to help work teams find emotional balance that empowers their work relationships and maximizes outcomes during this stressful time.
Horses guide us to a place of ‘coherence’ which is a peak performance state. It takes us out of “fight or flight” and connects us to a true state of presence which is the doorway to a calm state of being from which we can navigate life and work safely and productively.
A REVEALING CASE STUDY
An environment of stress is not helpful when it comes to a healthy work environment. And we know the past year has been one of the most stressful of all time. Horses help us find our center and tap into our intentions despite the stress that surrounds us. There is an opportunity to learn how to be present and grounded in way that allows us to meet today’s challenges with calm and clarity of intention about what we want and where we will put our focus. Horses help us learn how to tap into this place of presence, connection and calm so we can focus more on what we do want instead of what we don’t want.
Before Covid 19 arrived at our doorstep, I was giving a demonstration of the power of Equine Experiential Learning with 3 Directors of Sales for 3 different hotel venues in Santa Cruz County. I wanted them to experience this work and its immediate impact first hand. When I do an experiential demonstration, one of the first skills the participants learn is how to say hello to the horse in a way that transfers the leadership role from the horse to them. It’s usually quite a simple activity and most often, participants experience success. But in this case, success for all 3 participants was nowhere to be found.
When presented with this kind of challenge in this type of work with the horses, the opportunity is to understand why the horse isn’t engaging with the participant. Horses are normally drawn to follow a leader if they experience the person as trustworthy and authentic. But here, for some reason that at first we didn’t understand, the horse would not engage with any of the 3 participants. As the Facilitator, it’s my job to ask the questions of the participants that remove the barriers to success.
Allowing Connection Through Presence
As we explored what might be the cause of the lack of engagement, we came to understand that all 3 women had very high pressured sales jobs and were used to driving themselves pretty hard most of the time. This pressure that drove them did not allow them to be present in a way that the horses could recognize. Once we got to that understanding, we then engaged in some exercises that shifted the participants from their stress mode to “presence.” All three women experienced success with the “Say Hello” exercise once they shifted their focus and brought themselves into the present moment with the horses.
What Does This Have to Do With Work Relationships?
Horses aren’t the only ones who can experience a disconnect in relationships that impacts successful engagement and collaboration.. That lack of presence can have the same impact on a work relationships as it had on the horses. Learning presence with the horses is a way of improving all your relationships. In presence, you have more access to your own creativity and collaborative input.
For more information, go to www.intentionalleaders.com or call Janice Drescher at 707-326-5681.