First, let me admit that I’ve never ridden a horse.
And yet, I’ve always thought of riding a horse as a metaphor for life. Sometimes you need to be very hands on and hold the reins tight. Sometimes you need to be ease off and hold the reins more loosely.
The Wikihow entry on how to hold a horse’s reins is instructive:
Hold the Reins at the Right Tension. You want just enough tension to maintain control, without restricting the horse’s movements unnecessarily. It’s better to hold them too loose than too tight, in order to avoid causing pain.
This metaphor is particularly useful when it comes to managing people or raising your kids.
Most of the time we need just enough tension to guide our kids or our employees, without restricting them unnecessarily. But when our kids get involved in harmful behavior, or if a work project gets off track, we need to tighten those reins and exercise more control.
What about you? How do you find the right balance when parenting or managing a team?