Co-op employees get leadership lessons from Mister Ed

Basin Electric employees Tammy Langerud (left) and Erin Huntimer (right) with Belle, the leader of the horse herd and animal instructor.

Basin Electric employees Tammy Langerud (left) and Erin Huntimer (right) with Belle, the lead horse of the herd and animal instructor of “Leading from behind & other lessons from a horse.”

Okay, it wasn’t really Mister Ed, the talking horse from the 1960s TV show. The horse’s name was Belle.

And unlike Mister Ed, Belle didn’t talk. But she did share wisdom about leadership – in a natural way only a horse can.

Leadership lessons from a horse, you say? Exactly what leadership insights can a horse give to a person?

Quite a bit, actually.

“Leading from behind & other lessons from a horse” is a half-day leadership seminar that uses equine-assisted learning activities to help participants see leadership, teamwork and communication in a new light.

Starting off, participants observe a herd of horses to learn about the animal herd mentality. The key take away: in a strong and healthy herd, the leader leads from behind the herd, not in front. This is the opposite of an organization, where it tends to be a top-down or in-front mentality.

A portion of the horse herd that participants observed to learn about the herd mentality of animals.

A portion of the horse herd that participants observed to learn about the herd mentality of animals during a leadership seminar offered by Harmony Stables & Equine Training Center near Bismarck, ND.

Other key takeaways:

  • How do you move people’s feet? Meaning how do you inspire and motivate them in a way that works with them, not against them.
  • Relationships have to be good for both parties.
  • Set your horse (or your team) up to succeed, not fail.

Horses were also incorporated into team building activities to demonstrate the importance of strong, clear communication between a leader and a team for the team’s overall success. The horse-incorporated activities also helped participants learn to deal with obstacles and unexpected outcomes, and how to consider new ideas.

“Leading from behind & other lessons from a horse” is a leadership seminar offered by Harmony Stables & Equine Training Center. Located  southwest of Bismarck, ND, Harmony Stables is a member of Capital Electric Cooperative, a Basin Electric Class C member.

The seminar was offered by North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives (NDAREC) as part of the North Dakota Member Services Association meeting.

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