As far as I can remember back… Patch, Buffy, Magnum, Putter, Bogey, Bailey, Roxi, and now Charlee and Hershey. These were and are the dogs of my life. So… why write a leadership blog on our dogs or dogs in general?
I saw this quote the other day… “Dogs are the only animals that love you more than they love themselves.” I immediately thought about our dogs and analogies of leadership. Loving those you lead more than you love yourself. Why not?
So… Here are a few thoughts on dogs and leadership…
They remember the past but live in the “now” and wag their tail
First, I will say that dogs do remember the past based on how they are trained. I also believe they remember the past on how they are treated. I guess the only time a dog thinks future is when it will be fed or when their ears will be rubbed. Charlee, our Bassett, is my example here. Charlee is a lot like me, stubborn in some areas. We have trained her, all but beat her, loved her, given her treats, etc., and she will still pee by the back door every once in a while. Regardless, all she wants is to be fed, loved, and ears rubbed… now. Apparently, she could care less about the past and has no worries about the future. Charlee just wags her tail. She is one happy dog.
Leadership can work in the same way. Should it? I think so. Too many leaders live in the past, or even live in the future, per se, but seem to be oblivious to the present. While it is good to remember the past and look toward future planning, leadership that stays in the “now” leads now. Leadership that leads in the past gets old. Leadership that leads in the future tends to forget current events. We must have now to get to the future.
Loyal to the fullest extent
Hershey, our Lab, will follow us anywhere, in or out of the house. And when I say she will sit right beside us, it is right beside us. If there is a word beyond loyal, then it applies to Hershey. Even when we were training her and on occasion correct her now, she remains loyal.
In leadership, the people we work with will have up and downs, mishaps, and such. Training and correction will and needs to happen. By nature, I genuinely believe that most people do not mess up on purpose. Quality leadership is and stays loyal. Too many times, I have seen leaders who want loyalty but do not give loyalty in return. Please do not be this type of leader.
They will fight and protect you
Back in the day growing up, I must have done something wrong in the front yard, and my mom decided she would give me a whopping… Well, when my mom “pulled me up,” Patch, my dog then, got right between us and growled. The story goes that Patch got mom’s arm in her jaws but did not bite down. I don’t remember that episode, but needless to say, my mom never decided to whoop me where Patch was around after that.
That is what leadership should do, fight for you. Leadership should protect you. If you don’t fight and protect those you work with, well, they might not fight and protect you when you need it. While our dogs are not “guard dogs,” they do guard our surroundings. Leaders should do the same. Be a leader who is on guard for the people.
Do dogs really love you more than they love themselves? I have no idea. But it sure sounds good, doesn’t it? There is a lot we can learn from dogs. I have some more ideas, but the above three ideas are the ones that I thought stood out the best with leadership. I’m sure you can offer some analogies as well. I will also add this… leadership aside, dogs can show us how to love. Show a dog some love, and they will steal your heart and wag their tail.
Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…
Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…
©2021 J Clay Norton
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