What leaders do you admire? Just as a horse will mirror our habits, we reflect what we experience. Our own leadership philosophy can be shaped by many individuals and finding someone you truly admire helps the whole journey appear to be that much easier.
A fine horseman I had the great pleasure to ride with a couple of years ago, died last week. A legend in horsemanship circles Ray Hunt was a man who lead by example offering his 80 years of wisdom to anyone interested in learning.
Dubbed The Master of Communication, it was a title stuck. Ray may not have been known for his people skills but his horse skills are unquestionable. Ray always said he was in it for the horse. He showed people how to behave, so their horses had a chance.
Ray had been repeating that perspective for over forty years. It wasn’t just that he talked about what people should do but he showed people how easy it could be to have an outstanding partner in your horse. Ray may well have influenced more generations of horsemen and women than any other single horseman.
Ray likely just considered himself a horseman but John Maxwell suggests “to be a successful leader you must surround yourself with people who can respond to five key questions”.
• Do they display exemplary character in everything they do?
• Do they bring complementary gifts to the table?
• Do they hold a strategic position and have influence within the organization?
• Do they add value to the organization and to the leader?
• Do they positively affect other members of the inner circle?
These kind of people flocked to Ray, spawning decades of horse people willing to let the horse’s perspective be held in high regard. Ray has clearly demonstrated he created an inner circle that many top executives would envy.
Displaying integrity in all he did, Ray offered the most humble of gifts to every horse human combination he encountered, respect. Ray was able to see the inherit talent in a horse when the owner couldn’t, and an argument was never personal. It wasn’t about you, it was about the horse.
Ray has been a part of my leadership and horsemanship journey. He helped me understand like the reins we hold in our hands connecting to the two most sensitive parts of the horse human team. The responsibility we are given in leading others represents the most fragile part of the organization.