As a number of you know I often deliver workshops which involve drumming with horses. Over the years I have delivered them all over England, and abroad, to a number of different audiences.
The audience that I suspect most will find surprising is to a business school. This was part of a programme targeted at supporting the development of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Working with the drums around a free feral herd of horses facilitated immediate and impactful learning.
Equine Facilitated Learning in general is an extremely effective learning process, with the drums the experience is different, but no less profound. Amongst many things, drumming is an act of community. Like a lot of musical gatherings, this coming together to perform builds bonds, as such it specifically facilitates the social intelligence elements of EI.
A vast amount of research over recent years has identified the value of emotional and social intelligence in building and developing career. IQ may get you a job, but it is your emotional and social effectiveness that develops your position. For example, Harvard Business School has identified nominal correlation between performance in entrance exams and subsequent career success, but a significant relationship to exhibitions of high EQ (Emotional Quotient).
An act of community
Stepping out of the academic for a moment, drums have built and sustained social relationships throughout the history of human community. We have come together to play, to bond and to support for thousands of years. We do not need to overlook that, just because we live in an age of technical sophistication.
So in drumming we connect with others, and most profoundly here we connect in a similar way with the horses. Those connections are equal; connections of curiosity, playfulness and equanimity.
In drumming we create a space that is engaging and inviting for others to step into. As leaders we want to create movement that others wish to join, direction that they wish to follow. This is a powerful practical experiential exercise in nurturing that.
Good leadership is how we are, not who we are. And good leadership draws others to us, not roping others in like cattle. Authenticity is at the heart of good leadership, it creates an energy that others choose to follow. It does not drag them reluctantly along with us.
This we can do with horses. This we can support with drums.