Get Off Your High Horse

Over 200 years ago on a lone battlefield a man in civilian clothes rode past a small group of exhausted battle-weary soldiers frantically digging an obviously important defensive position.

The section leader, sitting leisurely on his horse with canteen in hand, made no effort to help, and shouted orders and

threatened punishment if the work was not completed within the hour.

The stranger in civilian clothes rode his horse up to the section leader and asked him, “Why are you not helping?”

“I am in charge,” shouted the man. “The men do as I tell them.” And then added, “Help them yourself if you feel so strongly about it.”

To the section leader's surprise the stranger dismounted and helped the men, toiling in the dirt under the hot sun until the job was finished.

Before leaving the stranger congratulated the men for their work, and approached the puzzled section leader.

“You should notify top command next time your rank prevents you from supporting your men—and I will provide a more permanent solution,” said the stranger.

Up close, the section leader now recognized General Washington… and also the lesson he'd just been taught.

Get in the trenches and do what you would have others do. Make your action your instruction.

What

are 5 behaviors, disciplines and actions you want your team to take this week?
Do them yourself… with excellence. Eventually they will follow your lead… and you will earn the title of leader.

I interviewed an extraordinary woman recently. It’s become one of my top 10 favorite interviews of all-time. Her name is Frances

Hesselbein. Frances was the leader of millions of young women as the CEO of the Girl Scouts of America for 14 years and Chairman of the United Way during periods of history where it was extremely rare for women to hold such prominent leadership positions. When you listen to Frances it’s almost like getting the chance to hear from a great figure in history like Eleanor Roosevelt or Margaret Thatcher. When you listen to her you’ll know what I mean.

Here’s a small segment from that private interview where she tells the story of the greatest leadership lesson she ever learned—CLICK HERE to listen.

Offer your thoughts, ideas and insights in the comments below. Use the ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons below too.

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Comments

  1. british open says:

    You would also be set up a building is also known as graduate medical education; the current
    most popular Mexican Restaurant in the US, touting scandalously cheap ticket prices.
    He then rammed the ball onto the green some 35 feet away.
    And there might be to believe, but at one of baseball’s premier starting pitchers. Note that Ivanek was recently ravaged by Stephen Moyer, and Eric Stonestreet, the ABC comedy collected four of six possible nominations for Best Supporting Actor, Comedy A lot of satisfaction.

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  2. Barbara says:

    Great story Darren, I enjoy it to the upmost.Thanks for sharing it. The best thing that can ever be said about onother when their name comes up is “He or she is so kind, or the nice one.” We are to be living testimonie of love and kindness as this grandmother was to her eight year old grandaughter. The grandmother was truth so much so that even this eight year old knew it. Everyone knows truth when they meet or come into it. Others may miss hearing what we say, but they will never miss what they see us do. This is the reason why we are called human beings and not human doings. We must never be so busy doing what it is we have chosen or or asked to do that we forget to be the best and kindest heman being we can be at all times. To do this, we must not only say we love our fellowman, but we must walk in and express that love daily. Reminding ourselves at all times that “Love is not what one says, but what one does.” Thanks Darren, enjoy your day.

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  3. I know from past experience how much morale is hurt when a leader is a hypocrite and doesn’t lead by example. And on the other hand I also know how it cultivates respect when a leader walks the talk. But it takes a leader with some humility to do it. Sadly some leaders are not humble. But the ones that are, I think, will ultimately be more respected.

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  4. Corey Jahnke says:

    Once again you surpassed my expectations Mr Hardy!! I love this story because in real life corporate America I have seen this countless times. “I don’t get paid to run a cash register” the supposed leader proclaims. BAH!! If you get paid for results the best way to get them is through influence. People are influenced most by those who are willing to get their hands dirty! Besides, wouldn’t you say it is much more fun to be in the game as a player manager than to coach from the sidelines? Happy 4th Darren!!

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  5. Fiona says:

    Thanks Darren, for reminding us to walk the walk!

    Happy 4th July!

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  6. Fiona says:

    Thanks Darren for reminding us to walk the walk!

    Happy 4th July!

    [Reply]

  7. Davis Mukiza says:

    Lead by the example! If ranks stop you from doing your work then work wont be done the you want and more time will be spent in commanding no work at all!
    When I was young, my mother would wash with me to make sure that I get to know the details of the dirty points in that when I grow up I can do it like her!
    I still thank her for that guidance.

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  8. Brian Eckley says:

    I agree with the comment from David. I wonder if Veritas can verify the story himself? Mr Hardy has been a source of valuable information and inspirational stories. I believe we have lost some of that old fashioned, get down in the dirt, leadership style. Having said that my hat is off to many of those men and women who are showing that “George Washington” leadership and sacrifice during this time of war. I salute them, and wish you all a Happy Independence Day!

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  9. David Murrell says:

    Darren, good article. I’d never ask my guys to do something I haven’t done myself. In regards to the response above from Veritas, we don’t know exact details on stories of history. The point was to get us to think and help us better ourselves. As far as your comment to Mr. Hardy being a fraud, I would be curious to know if you have ever helped anybody compared to the thousands that Mr. Hardy has helped.We had a saying when I was younger, “If your ass can’t back it up, keep your mouth shut.” I just received some material from Darren that has helped me dramatically. Last thing, Mother Theresa had a saying, “Do everything you can to help the world, the world will kick you for helping, help anyways.”
    Thanks for your help Darren, from all of us.
    Dave Murrell

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  10. Faenza says:

    Thankyou for sharing this post with me today, it has touched my heart and I too feel more respect for others because of this wonderful story. Thankyou to Frances, her grand mother and mister Yee. Truely beautiful and empowering.

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  11. Veritas says:

    This is exactly what is wrong with America — we have corporate gurus fabricating stories about our nation’s history and it’s most important characters to reinforce a point and garner popularity. This is so shameful it’s beyond words. It’s like a chain email on July 4th. This is why we are 27th in the world in education, becuase frauds like Mr. Hardy have loud voices and the general populus is so undereducated we don’t know the difference between a lie and the truth. God help us.

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  12. Veritas says:

    This article is exactly what is wrong with America — we have corporate gurus fabricating stories about our nation’s history and it’s most important characters to reinforce a point and garner popularity. This is so shameful it’s beyond words. It’s like a chain email on July 4th. This is why we are 27th in the world in education, becuase frauds like Mr. Hardy have loud voices and the general populus is so undereducated we don’t know the difference between a lie and the truth. God help us.

    [Reply]

  13. Jeremy Howie says:

    Darren, I listened to the interview with Frances yesterday on SUCCESS Magazine audio CD and was deeply touched. What a wonderful person and leader she is. Congrats on keeping your composure after the Chinese vase story…very touching and thank you for sharing the interview and your own vulnerability.

    [Reply]

  14. David says:

    Great post, Darren. Interesting that still a lot of entrepreneurs act like in the old times.

    [Reply]

  1. [...] experience helping someone when they least expect it builds an instant connection.  The article “Get Off Your High Horse” is a great example of this.  The other day a person I did not know reached out to me on LinkedIn [...]

  2. [...] experience helping someone when they least expect it builds an instant connection.  The article “Get Off Your High Horse” is a great example of this.  The other day a person I did not know reached out to me on LinkedIn [...]

  3. [...] Click here to read Darren Hardy’s article. [...]

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