A group of more than 30 leaders from Highland Rivers Behavioral Health recently participated in a week-long leadership academy with Linda Kohanov, internationally acclaimed author and pioneer in equine-facilitated human development. The week-long training in Cartersville included all members of the Highland Rivers leadership team and key agency program managers, and focused on innovative leadership, relationships and non-verbal communication to foster leadership. socio-emotional intelligence.
“Highland Rivers has undergone significant change over the past year with the consolidation of the Cobb and Haralson organizations into our agency, and this was a very timely opportunity as we position ourselves for a bright and exciting future,” said the CEO of Highland Rivers Behavioral Health. Melanie Dallas, who is familiar with Kohanov’s work and the positive impact it has on social and emotional intelligence.
“Although the teaching is rooted in the use of non-predatory power modeled for us by horses, the lessons are universal – the concepts of emotional intelligence, social roles, using emotions as information, power, authenticity and poise are not only essential for a high-performing leadership team, but perhaps more importantly, are highly applicable within the therapeutic recovery setting for the people we serve with health issues. mental health, substance use disorders and intellectual development disorders.
While horse-assisted experiential learning is gaining visibility and credibility, Kohanov’s approach deepens the emotional intelligence of horses as large, non-predatory herbivores that must rely on the individual attributes and roles of herd members. for their survival in the wild. . She has developed her teaching through five books, including the 2001 Amazon bestseller “The Tao of Equus”, as well as “The Power of the Herd: A Nonpredatory Approach to Social Intelligence, Leadership and Innovation” and “The Five Roles of a Master Herder: A Revolutionary Approach to Socially Intelligent Leadership.”
Although she offers learning encounters with horses on her ranch in Arizona, her workshops apply universal and transferable concepts that can be taught without horses.
“After working with the leadership team and agency program leads at Highland Rivers Behavioral Health, I am filled with awe, inspiration and hope for the future,” Kohanov said. “A spirit of authenticity and collaboration underpins the expertise and dedication shown by team members at the highest levels of this organization, and I am excited to bring new tools and perspectives to support their ambitious task.”
Over time, these emotional and social intelligence skills will also be shared with members throughout the organization and, more importantly, with the people the agency serves.
“Parents and teachers of children with special needs, women in crisis, and people from all walks of life who need help to overcome complex difficulties can all benefit from this concerted effort to better deal with emotional, mental and behavioral issues that so many of us face in our rapidly changing modern world,” Kohanov added.
As Georgia’s largest community service board, Highland Rivers Behavioral Health serves a 13-county region of northwest Georgia (including Whitfield and Murray counties) that is home to nearly 1.8 million people. The consolidation of Haralson Behavioral Health Services in Highland Rivers was completed on January 1, while the consolidation of the Cobb County Community Services Board in the agency was completed on June 30. Staff from both agencies moved into program management and leadership positions within Highland Rivers as part of the consolidations, and the agency is working to significantly increase the number of people it serves each year in its service area.