11 Leadership Lessons Learned From Dogs
Everyone knows that dogs are our best friends right. How about dogs being some of the best mentors on Leadership Lessons as well.
Here are a few ways that we can learn how to be a better leader from that same dog that licks themselves in public.
Meet everyone at the door – dogs love to run to the door and get excited no matter who is at the door. Hopefully your dog has manners and does not lose its mind when there is a knock at the door as mine does. As leaders we need to meet people, don’t hide behind a desk all the time with a secretary or team member on guard. Customer service is key component no matter what business or industry you are in.
Lead From Behind – anyone that has a dog know that before they are going to get out in front of you well they have to check the rear. Nothing says you are part of a pack than a nose up your butt nudging you along. As a leader we need to push more and pull less, we cannot drag our team to success nearly as well as we can encourage them to succeed.
If it itches – every dog owner knows the frustration of the scratching and itching that dogs can do. Generally speaking they scratch because they have an itch and whether it is a flea or allergies they don’t usually scratch over nothing. As leaders if there is something amiss there is usually a reason and sometimes it needs to be scratched in order to expose the company’s weaknesses.
Unconditional Love – dogs generally love unconditionally even when they possibly should not. This being said as a leader we should love more and treat people with the respect they deserve. If we love unconditionally we will form bonds of trust with those we lead.
Bark worse than the bite – dogs use barking as a way of communication, whether they are stressed, hungry, mad or happy they bark. Very rarely will a dog bite unless they are threatened, mistreated or scared. As leaders we need to be careful with our words as they can hurt and have more of a bite than intended. Also we need to focus on expressing ourselves when we are happy more and angry less. Wag more Bark less.
Comfort when needed – ever hurt yourself or get upset and it does not matter how bad it is, all your dog needs to do is lick your wounds or cuddle up next to you and things seem better. As leaders we should focus on compassion and caring for others. Help those that are in need when we can, sometimes all that is required is pulling up a seat next to them and listen.
Consistent Constancy – dogs are creatures of habit, whether those habits are good or bad they are consistent nonetheless. As leaders we must remain consistent and unwavering in our behaviors as well. As dogs like routines and tend to function better when things remain the same so do people. Change the way you greet your dog tonight you will see what I mean.
Take a nap – all dog’s nap whenever they have a chance, if you have a dog like mine you would swear they sleep when you are away just to make sure they are ready to play the entire time you are home. As leaders we too must make sure that we are well rested for the day’s challenges. Personally I am not a napper but I am fortunate enough to function on little to no sleep. Most people especially leaders it has been shown do not get enough sleep, so take a few minutes close the door and take a nap.
Seize the day – dogs remember but usually choose to forget. So they got yelled at yesterday for begging at the table or chewing up your favorite shoe, that won’t stop them from doing it all over again today. As leaders we tend to dwell on past mistakes rather than allowing our team to redeem themselves. Try living for today a little more and let the past be just that, seize the day for the gift that it is.
Be willing to learn new tricks – There is no truth is the saying you can’t teach a dog new tricks. It has been proven over and over in my home that at no matter what age our dogs can learn new tricks, assuming of course that they want to. As a leader, we may pretend to know it all when truly we know little, don’t be afraid to venture out and learn new skills or tricks to make you a better leader.
Be friendly first – most dogs by nature are social animals, they would choose a pack rather than living alone, they will make friends with almost anyone and remain loyal to that friendship. As leaders we tend to be judgmental and believe that friendship and business should not mix. You can be friendly and it is recommended as it builds trust and loyalty. A team or pack is more apt to stand behind its leader that it trusts, respects and is friends with over one that is unkind and separated from the team.
The next time you are struggling for tips and guidance having better leadership tactics, take a moment, kneel down and look into the eyes of your best friend. Dogs have more wisdom and temperance than a leader will ever be able to achieve, as their best friend maybe sometimes we should let them take the lead.
Now it’s your turn: What other leadership lessons can you think of that we can learn from our best friends? Please comment below so everyone can learn together.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.