Why do some horses perform at top talent capacity for some people, but not others?

A friend of mine recently “inherited” a horse from a lady convinced the horse was a low performer. She complained the horse was behaving badly, wouldn’t respond to her direction, was unpredictable and a safety hazard. Recognizing the horse’s potential, my friend agreed to take if off her hands.

Employee and leader behavior often mirrors this phenomenon – an under-performing employee is booted by a leader only to realize unprecedented success under the mentoring tutelage of someone else.

Employee potential, like business potential, is just waiting to be recognized and released, but many leaders don’t take the time needed to develop and encourage it – rather taking the attitude “I got to where I am on my own and everyone else should too – it builds character!”.

Here are 5 reasons you should strive to become a better leader:

  1. Forget capital equipment purchases – people decisions are your real $1,000,000 decision
  2. Strong leaders can make a “silk purse out of a sow’s ear”. In other words, they can mentor and motivate virtually any employee to higher levels of performance. It’s easy to engage a top performer, but it takes a strong, focused leader to engage a mediocre performer.
  3. High Employee engagement = better business results (including share price, productivity, talent acquisition and retention, customer satisfaction, safety, quality, etc.).
  4. Having a strong succession plan allows your career the flexibility to fly
  5. Your success depends of the success of your team

All employees have strengths and weaknesses. Take time to evaluate your employee’s natural strengths and provide opportunities that leverage those strengths for both the employee and the organization then sit back and witness lightening in a bottle.


*Horse-ism – Using good ‘ole horse sense to become an extraordinary leader!