Frescoe strolled into the arena, glanced briefly at the group, and proceeded to explore the space while sniffing the ground. The group was riveted to his every move. They had not met him before, but I asked them to describe his personality based on what they were observing and feeling. “He’s confident.” “Sure of himself.” “Calm.” “Smart.” “Kind.” “Curious.” “Interested.” “He knows exactly what’s going on.”

“Is he good at his job,” I asked the group. “Oh yes,” they replied. (They didn’t even know his job.)

“Would you trust him as a leader,” I asked. “Yes.” “Of course.” “Totally,” they replied. I had shared nothing about Frescoe’s background.

What was going on? Why would this intelligent group of business professionals make a snap judgment and trust a 1200-pound horse that they just met? What was it about Frescoe that elicited such a response?

Before Frescoe made his entrance, the group had worked with three of my other horses during the leadership workshop. But none had prompted those comments. He isn’t the oldest, or the biggest, or the most experienced of my herd. But he has the “it” factor.

Leadership trainers across the globe strive to teach the elusive “leadership presence.” We know it when we see it but still struggle to define it. Frescoe clearly has it. He embodies his greatness. So let’s break it down. Here are the five must-haves for leadership presence, according to Frescoe:

1. Confidence – you must be certain of your ability
2. Competence – you must be good at what you do
3. Curiosity – you must be genuinely interested in others, situations, and environments, and notice changes
4. Kindness – you must care about others
5. Intelligence – you must be open to learning and taking new approaches

We can all improve our leadership presence by developing strengths in these five areas. Give yourself what you need to be your best and your confidence will improve along the way. Ask questions, show an interest, get involved, and release old patterns of working that no longer serve you or your team. To freshen up, ask the question, “how else can I think about this?” What would create more peace? How much fun can we make this? Where can I add more joy? How can we better serve our clients?

Frescoe invents games, notices everything, and keeps his brain alive. He once saw a tiny purple dot on the barn floor where I had dripped some shampoo. He stopped, pawed at it and gave it a good sniff. Another time he grabbed a bell boot while walking into his stall and flung it in the air for fun. He regularly chases a red ball around the ring and can dribble like a soccer pro.

He also takes care of his herd. A bear was walking along the perimeter of his pasture one day. The mares were screaming and running in circles, totally hysterical. Frescoe raced toward the bear, his head low, his tail flying high over his back like a flag. The bear sped off into the distance and Frescoe galloped back to his herd. Victorious.

To be a great leader, you must be able to walk your talk. Here’s to your leadership presence and the ability to back it up!