Four Dimensions of Leadership – Part 3
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

It’s hard to believe that another week has passed, and I am already at part three of the Four Dimensions of Leadership. Just to refresh your memory, Part 1 is Leading from the Inside Out, Part 2 is Leading from the Outside In, and today we’ll look at Part 3, Leading Side by Side. This might just be my favorite dimension. This dimension is when we get to see the impact of our leadership up close. Let me share some thoughts that will explain what I mean.

When I think of leading side by side, my mind goes to a story my dad always told me. My dad grew up on a dairy farm, and my grandpa always had draft horses. He didn’t need them; he just wanted them. All of the heavy work was done with his tractors, but when it came to lighter work like pulling a hay wagon, grandpa would hitch up a team of Belgian draft horses so they could get a workout. Each year there would be a new foal born to the best mare he had. When the foal would be old enough to be put in a harness, grandpa would team her up with a horse that pulled well. Side by side, the young horse, would learn from the older horse. The older horse pulled much of the weight at the beginning, but as months passed, the younger horse would take on more of the load.

Great leaders look at who they can come alongside and help. Not to enable, but to help do better work. Who can they help understand the nuances of business, or life for that matter? Who can they help think through a difficult situation? Who can they help think through fears by shining the light of awareness into situations that seem uncertain and unpredictable? Coaching and mentoring are best done side by side where a person feels safe to open up and trust their leader as a friend, and not a boss.

I wonder what communications were taking place between Babe and Bonnie, the two Belgian horses. I would imagine there was a lot of encouragement and reassurance as these two massive horses weighing between 1,800 and 2,200 lbs. each worked together in the fields. My guess is that it’s a lot like coaching sessions I have had the privilege to be part of, and I can tell you that some of the most rewarding times in my career have been seeing young leaders achieve things they never knew were possible.

If you would like to hear more about this topic and perhaps a story or two about Babe and Bonnie, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 173 of The Next Page podcast.

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