Dogs are man’s best friend. The communication gap that exists between us is readily closed by trust, compassion, and loyalty. You might be wondering what on earth dogs could teach us about leadership in humans, but when it comes to who’s in charge, you might find we have more in common than you previously thought.
Dogs listen. Even if they can’t understand the words that we’re saying to them, dogs look at us while we’re speaking to them with their concerned faces that make us feel as though know exactly what we mean. One trait of effective leadership is the ability to not only talk and have people listen to you, but also the ability to take the time to listen to others. Communication is a two-way street, and if people don’t feel like they’re being heard, they’re less likely to listen to you.
- Dogs are forgiving. Even if you have to leave them for a week while you’re on vacation, when you return, dogs are always happy to see you without resenting you being gone. As a leader, it’s important to forgive the issues that are forgivable and let them go. Holding onto grudges will inhibit you from being your best, most attentive self, and can even infringe upon your duties as a leader. While it’s human nature to get angry, it’s also important to move past the anger and work to remedy the situation
Dogs work together. By nature, dogs are pack animals, and they work together by observing each other’s emotional responses and being receptive of one another’s needs. They protect one another and guard one another unconditionally whenever the need arises. Just like dogs, leaders need to keep the best interests of their ‘pack’ in mind.
- Dogs are happy when they make others happy. Dogs are naturally happy creatures with perpetually wagging tails and happy faces. What makes dogs really happy is when their people are happy. Effective leaders know that the best and hardest workers are workers who are engaged in their work, so they make sure the work environment is conducive. If you treat your employees well, they, in turn, will do whatever they can to help you.
- Sometimes dogs lead, sometimes dogs follow. While dogs are always eager to take the lead and blaze a trail, they also recognize that there are times to fall in line behind someone else. If you are in a position of leadership, 9 times out of 10 you’re going to be taking charge. However, you need to know when it’s okay to step back and let someone else take the reigns.
Not only do dogs protect one another, they are always willing to accept new people with open arms. They look for the best in everyone, even strangers, and if nothing else, that’s a trait that we as humans could learn from them.