I have been doing a lot of speaking lately and consulting some really cool businesses. Lots going on, and everyone has a different style as a leader. But when I go home and hang out with my super cool dog, Roxie Girard, I marvel at her natural skills as a leader.
Why would she be an awesome human leader? Read below and think about how you can learn from her in your business and life. Here are eight awesome lessons and management training from my dog!
1) A dog is completely PRESENT and in the moment with you – all the time.
Roxie does not care what happened earlier in the day or what will happen tomorrow, she focuses ALL her attention on living in the moment. A dog makes eye contact and hangs on your every word. They make you feel loved, special, and important.
Now, when was the last time you paid dog-like attention to someone else? How often do we find ourselves thinking about the meeting we just had or the one we will be having later? And we miss a glorious opportunity to connect fully with another human being. Be a dog. Make eye contact, be supremely interested, and be completely curious. Make people feel special!
2) A dog shows total REMORSE when they screw up.
Sometimes the moments that make me laugh with my dog, is when she is bad. She looks pathetic. But even if I am SO mad at her, the guilt and sadness she shows for doing something wrong absolutely causes me to forgive her instantly.
When was the last time that you showed that kind of remorse when you did something wrong? We are so scared of being wrong, that we tend to hide from the truth and hope it goes away. Perhaps it is from growing up with a school system that seeks out mistakes and punishes us? Or managers that are quick to tell us when we are wrong, but slow to praise? But imagine if we adopt an attitude of total accountability and own up to EVERYTHING we do? What if you created a company culture that embraced that level of dog-like accountability? How would things be different?
It’s okay to be vulnerable.
3) A dog is transparent in their goals and emotions. They are AUTHENTIC
- “Hey Dad, I gotta pee. NOW.”
- “Yes, I would like that treat.”
- “I love car rides.”
- “no I don’t like that noise outside. And you must know about it now. What’s 3:00 am?”
How can you use this as a leader? Stop playing games, don’t be vague in your requests, and just be straight up with people. They will love you for the sense of security that creates.
4) Dogs are UNCONDITIONAL, loyal, and they don’t hold grudges.
Your dog will never make you feel bad for that time you forgot to take them on the car ride you promised. They don’t get petty and bring up issues form the past. They love you NOW. Roxie’s face says, “How can I be there for you right now?”
As leaders, we can’t hold grudges and in order to make progress in ANY relationship, we have to put the past behind us. Are you willing to do that? Or will you let your ego and your need to be right get in the way of long-term, sustainable growth? How can you set the example for people that you will always show strength of character and do what is right?
5) Dogs match your MOOD. They observe and adapt.
Roxie has mastered the art of empathy. She can sense what is going on and match my mood almost instantly. If I am in a fun mood, she is in a fun mood. If I am feeling blue, she slows down and is even more PRESENT than normal. When I am sick, she just lies beside me and watches whatever crap I want. And she puts off going out for a pee as long as possible. It is unreal how much she connects on a deep level.
As a leader, do you take the time to REALLY sense what is going on with the people around you? Do you pause and empathize when someone looks like they need a shoulder? Do you get in the party mood when everyone is having fun, or do you let whatever mood you are in control you? The best gift you can give others is your ENERGY. Practice matching theirs and connecting with their moods. See what happens.
6) Dogs greet you and make you feel SPECIAL.
We know this. It doesn’t matter what has happened during the day, I always know that my dog will say hello and be ready for whatever I throw at her next. She doesn’t care about meetings, deadlines, or other human stuff. She is just glad I’m there.
As a leader, do you make everyone around you feel extremely welcomed and appreciated for just showing up? Smile, say hello, be warm, and come from a place of kindness and caring FIRST.
Give it a shot!
7) Dogs are CURIOUS about the world around them.
What the heck are they smelling everywhere?
- “Oh man a tree!”
- “Hey look! A rock!”
- “My head’s out the window and it’s AMAZING!”
- “Wow, another dog!”
- “What’s that noise?”
- “What’s this flower?”
- “What’s THAT flower?”
- “What other dog do you smell like, Dad? Can I meet them?”
- “Oh SWEEEEEEEET! A butt!”
Man, can you imagine just being one tenth as curious about the world around you? What would you notice? Would you appreciate the beautiful surroundings? The people? The kindness? Would you have deeper, more meaningful conversations?
8) Dogs get what they want because they DON”T WAIVER from these principles.
It’s easy to do these things once and a while, but for more than eight years, Roxie has stayed true to these guiding, instinctual principles. It’s amazing! She lives her life and loves every single day!
So ask yourself what it would be like if you followed these principles on a daily basis? How would your world change? What kind of leader would you become?
BONUS) Dogs are up for ANYTHING!
My dog loves car rides, people, snacks, and pretty much everything the world throws at her. So when I was approached to have her in a music video, she said “No Problem!” Have a look!
You can also add Roxie as a friend on Facebook! AND of course, I would love to hear your thoughts on this and any other dog lessons I may have missed!