Magical Principle #2

“Talking to Others”


3 Magical Principals Series

Magical Principle #2

“Talking to Others”

When I look back over all of my life lessons, both personal and professional, my greatest teachers in how to communicate with others, have been my horses. Horses never pretend to be someone other than who they are. They don’t have an agenda, don’t hold grudges, and what you see is what you get. Unlike people, horses see right through you, there is no pretending to be anything other than who you are. They sense when you are angry, scared, happy or sad. They will relax when you are at peace and confident, and take advantage when you are clueless! There isn’t much you can sneak by a horse, not even that carrot hidden in your pocket!

Horses have taught me the importance of holding space for both myself and others, the value in mastering my words, the success that comes from taking the time to build a relationship built on trust and respect, and how very important it is to understand where they are coming from, while consistently putting healthy boundaries in place.

“Hold the Space”

In the world of natural horsemanship, “holding the space” equates to being 100% totally present. In the role of a project manager, you are partnering daily with both internal and external clients. The way we go about building that partnership is so critical to how we show up in our roles as leaders. Taking the time to listen to others with our body, mind and entire being, not just with our ears. When do a good job “holding the space”, we are excelling in the role we chose to play, totally open to whatever feedback, emotions or responses that our clients and team members express.

At TerZetto, a coaching program that I offer to project and program managers, our clients learn how to “hold the space” through their one-on-one work with our equine team. The groundwork helps each client to see how they currently show up, the energy that they are broadcasting, an through each session, they get the opportunity to learn and tweak their approach. The program helps to move them towards a place of infinite patience, helps them learn to quiet their mind, and truly understand the meaning of “hearing” with their whole self – not just their ears and brain.

 “Mastering Your Speak”

There are words that are spoken and there is “mastering your speak”“Mastering Your Speak” begins when you take responsibility for being understood. Choosing your words. Learning how to deliver your message in a way that can be easily heard and understood, no matter who the audience. “Mastering Your Speak” is an amazing skill for all project and program managers to master!

Whether you are communicating with a CIO, nurse, developer, analyst or network engineer, having the ability to fluidly switch from one style of speak to another, is an art all on its own! When you learn to “master your speak”, you will be honoring how each and every person feels, no matter what the situation being addressed. “Mastering Your Speak” is when you have learned how to give them the adequate space that they need – do they like you to be a few feet away when speaking with them, or is an arms length away just fine? It is when you become aware that you need to change up the words you use, to reflect their language, and at times, even  mirroring their body language and volume – some individuals can relate to a more animated conversation, with perhaps even a little more volume!

It may sound a little odd at first, but take the time to look around you and notice all the different “Speak” styles that you work with. Do an experiment with yourself one day, and make a conscious effort to notice your own “speak”. How does your voice sound when you speak to different individuals? When and with whom are you sounding more effective, secure, inspiring, interesting, clear and concise? “Mastering your speak” is not only about the words, but also about how you make the other person feel, when you speak them.

“The Creator of Amazing Relationships”

A year ago I purchased a new horse for my daughter. The horse was about 10 years old, and I didn’t know much about the horse’s history. The mare remained at the barn where I purchased her for about a month, after which time I moved her to our farm. After taking forever to get her to load on the trailer, we arrived at our farm, and I gave her a few days to settle in.

The first day in the round pen with the mare I approached her just as I had every other horse I had worked with. I was in a hurry, was way behind in tasks that needed to be done for my business, and all I could think about were my looming deadlines. As I worked her, it seemed that the slightest movement from me resulted in a HUGE energetic explosion on her end! “What is up with her?” I thought to myself. Just as the words registered in my head, along came the “Ah ha” moment!

Not only was this mare new to me, and I to her, but she was also picking up on my energy – my not so positive energy! I walked over to the mounting block in the middle of the ring, sat down, let out a HUGE breath, and looked down at my boots. What happened to being in the moment? Being aware of my energy? Creating a rapport? As the last thought processed through my brain, I felt a warm nuzzle on the back of my neck. Equine 1 – Human 0!

Moral of this story – the short version – I had forgotten to learn her language. I forgot all the important ‘stuff’ that would have helped us to create an amazing relationship, one built on trust and respect.

In being “the creator of amazing relationships”, we need to have an understanding of the need for love and acceptance, whether human or horse. The old verbiage that in order to and to accept others, we must first accept our self. No truer words ever spoken.

Yes, this is the mushier side of our jobs as project and program managers. Yes, you can choose to navigate through your role by dominating, dictating or manipulating – well let’s just see how that approach works out for you! In the end, taking the time to practice establishing and creating a rapport, and managing how you receive and give energy, can’t help but create a much more successful and fulfilled leadership role, within your organization.

“Walking a Mile In Their Shoes”

During one of our TerZetto VIP 2-day intensives, I had one of my equine team members appear to change their personality four times, within a four-hour period. With one client this beautiful 17+ hand equine team member was docile, almost to the point of ignoring the client altogether. With the second she immediately began to race around the ring, at time putting her head down and hurling her hindquarters into the air! With the third client the mare performed every task she was given, and with the fourth client she would hardly move.

Each one of these clients had a different history, and have walked a different or the same path, but in different shoes. The consistent variable in the situation, was the horse. Just as each person’s energy affected the horse, it is highly likely that the energy from those around you, will have an impact on you.

Each person is different, and YOU are different. Be proud of the individual you are, and don’t let that be lost in the crowd of the moment. At the same time, honor those around you that are different, for just that very reason – they are different! The uniqueness of each of us is something to celebrate, and keeps our jobs challenging and provides us with a constant opportunity to learn and to grow.  Taking the time to step into someone else’s shoes whether it is during a time of dispute, a moment of chaos, or an amazing moment of accomplishment, not only helps us to see and feel the world from their perspective, but also helps us to become a more approachable leader.

“Drawing Healthy Lines In the Sand”

“Jeanninnnnnne, the horse will NOT back up! It continues to stand right next to me even when I ask it nicely to back up. When I walk away, it follows me. I cannot get this horse to get out of my space! I just don’t get it!! Why won’t it listen to me?!”

As I listen to the client, I continue to observe her body language. Her voice tone is very soft, monotone, and her body language is almost absent. She is standing facing the horse with her shoulders slumped over, almost leaning into the horse, with hardly any facial expression. If you were to ask me the client’s energy level, on a scales from 1 – 10, ten being the greatest, I would have guessed a 0!

“Drawing healthy lines in the sand” is all about the right energy at the right time, with the right words. Being able to establish boundaries, as a project or program manager is extremely important. There is a fine line that you walk each and every day, keeping your PMI triangle in balance. You need to be constantly conscious to not run anyone over, or let anyone run you over, all while herding a zillion and one wild cats! Healthy boundaries are important, and knowing what type of boundary to set with each individual can be tricky.

Setting boundaries where they have never been set before, whether colleagues or friends, can be challenging. Those who aren’t accustomed to them may react in ways that can be difficult and uncomfortable for you. Some may become angry and try raging actions and shouting or threats to intimidate you. Then there will be those that may try to manipulate away those new boundaries with a more soft, or “nicey-nicey” approach! By consistently reinforcing your boundaries, using a strong and clearly communicated manner, you will not only become more skilled in putting and keeping in place healthy boundaries, you will also earn the respect and trust of those around you!

Remember……….“How you show up anywhere, is how you show up everywhere!”

~ Show up fabulous!                                              JeannineSignatureSmall

Three Magical Principles of a Leading Project Manager is a 3 part series that focuses on the magical principles for project managers to apply as they grown into strong authentic and compassionate leaders.


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