In his book, “The Art of Learning,” Josh Waitzkin shares his mom’s thought on the two ways of taming a stallion.
The first is the “shock and awe” method. Tie it up and freak it out by shaking paper bags, rattling cans, and driving it crazy till it submits to any noise. Make it endure humiliation and then get on top, spur it and show it who’s boss.
The second is the way of horse whisperers. Handle the horse gently, pet him, feed him, groom him and let him get used to you and like you. You, then, get on him and there is no fight because there is nothing to fight. When trained, the horse will bring his/her unique character to the table. The gorgeous, vibrant spirit is still flowing in an animal that used to run the plains.
There are some powerful parallels for when we work with people. It is tempting to let our agenda and our conception of what needs to be done to dictate the process. But, when we become too rigid and stop seeking to understand, we stifle others and effectively pull rank.
But, when we find a way to build off the strengths, creative spirit and natural style of everyone we work with, we create an output with verve and spirit.
The difference lies simply in our desire to seek to know, understand and trust.