Ever wondered how horses can make you a better leader? Isabelle Hasleder's backyard is the perfect place to find out 

HQ Leadership, founded by Isabelle uses horses to train corporates and other professionals to become better leaders
Isabelle has conducted training for several major clients including BMW and Palio
Isabelle has conducted training for several major clients including BMW and Palio

Step into Isabelle Hasleder's backyard in Shollinganallur, Chennai and you'll find about 50 horses running wild and free. 'Identify the leader of the string', Isabelle often tells the corporates who come to her for leadership training. Surprisingly, within a few minutes of careful observation, people are able to identify the leader based on how the horses interact with each other. 

Isabelle, the founder of HQ Leadership, uses horses to train professionals in leadership. "The concept was developed in Germany about 20 years ago. It is a system where you do a few exercises with the horses that help you imbibe leadership qualities," says Isaballe, and adds, "You need to make the horse run for two rounds. Then ask yourself if you are in power to make the horse run. How effectively you can portray your authority will affect the result."

HQ Leadership has several big clients like BMW and Palio. The people who attend the workshops usually have no prior experience with horses. So the first thing Isabelle does is ask the group to observe how the horses interact. "It is very similar to how humans interact. After a few minutes, people are able to understand who the leader is, and what qualities set a leader apart."

Horsing around: Isabelle and her husband have a property of about five acres with 50 horses

The individuals are then given a horse each with a leash attached and they need to lead the horse through a course of obstacles. "The horse will walk by your side or behind you, based on how well you lead," she says. 

When asked how effective it has been, Isaballe says, "People have understood the importance of clarity in communication. They realise that the horse gives you clear and honest feedback. If you ask someone how long they would take to trust another human being, they'd probably say a few months or even years, but when it comes to horses, all it takes is a few minutes, because horses are that honest."

She recalls an instance when an individual was trying to move his horse along a path, but she simply wouldn't budge, until he tried a different path. "Sometimes, the horse doesn’t move in the path you want to go. This is an important lesson for leaders that if one method doesn’t work, you should try another, instead of wasting time," she says.

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