What makes a leader?

Last week I asked for reader feedback as to what were important human qualities for “prey animal leaders” and “caregivers”.  As I compiled the answers that I received, I noticed a few things: 1.The answers from all three commenters had the same feel to them, 2. The qualities named also make good leadership skills for people, and 3. Since only three people commented, I must be intimidating!

Let’s recap those qualities…

  1. Put the wellbeing of others ahead of your own needs.
  2. Cow Time, Cow Think, Cow Motivation, and Cow Watching—all of these require using empathy and understanding in order to place yourself in some one or some calf’s “world”.  Do you understand how a calf (or other person) thinks and accept that it is not the same as the way that you think?  Do you understand that cattle have no sense of “time” or “schedule” (come to think of it, two of my daughters do not either!)?  Do you understand what motivates the calf or the person?  Can you watch and observe others (either calf or human) in order to figure out “what makes them tick” and how they interact with others and the world around them?
  3. Find joy in what you do and in the beautiful outdoors that you are blessed to live in.
  4. Your brain is the most important tool!  It can overcome challenges of all kinds.
  5. Be calm
  6. Be confident
  7. Be consistent
  8. Be firm (the boss!)
  9. Have focus
  10. Get creative instead of getting frustrated or giving up.

I have found over the years that my experience understanding and handling cattle (and horses) has really improved my ability to handle people because it has improved my empathy toward others as well as my ability to “think outside the box”.  If you have ever coached a t-ball team comprised of  five year old children, I am sure that you can recognize the importance of many of the qualities listed above!

One more thought for the day…I read the book Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints quarterback) last year.  It is a fabulous book and has many really great quotes in it.  In the book he states that one of his favorite quotes is, “Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying”.  Do you lead with your mouth or do you lead with your actions?  An interesting question to ponder…

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Filed under Animal Welfare, General

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