Leadership Lessons from “The Dog Whisperer” – Part 1

Leadership Lessons from “The Dog Whisperer” – Part 1

I began watching the Dog Whisperer several years ago in the midst of tremendous personal, spiritual and professional change. While we did have a dog for 13 years, I am decidedly not a dog person, yet I found myself riveted to the TV set every Friday, having something inside of me get awakened and healed in the midst. As Cesar Millan says, “I rehabilitate dogs, but I train people”. Here are some of the lessons from his show (Now, “Leader of the Pack”)

Most dogs are born followers. Only a few are natural born leaders.

There are more followers than leaders in the human kingdom as well.

Sometimes we ignore this rule of nature, thinking it has to be egalitarian: “everyone can be a leader with enough training”. But there are people who fail parenting courses and shouldn’t be parents, either!

Why not look for the genuine real and potential leaders, those already leading and put our leadership training time, resources and focus into their development so that the entire company can soar. Re-position those who truly are wrong for that role.

Leaders (good, bad, formal or informal) will naturally take charge in a vacuum. (This follows from #1)

In fact, one of the most common issues to come up as Cesar is called in to help, is that people are allowing their dogs to be the leader in the human’s home and family! As weak leaders, people end up following the dog’s lead. It’s as hilarious as it is pathetic.

If the person given a leadership position does not do the leading, someone else from the unit or staff will, whether officially or subversively. Who has the real influence in your office? Who is really modeling the (positive or negative) work ethics behavior that you see reproduced on your office floor or in your staff meeting?

Weak leaders can usually be rehabilitated once they see this dynamic at play.

Pity is weak energy, empowering the pitied one over you.

People give extra leeway and fewer boundaries to the staff members (or pets) that they pity. (“Oh but they came from a poor background so I can’t have high the expectations of them.” “Oh, but she’s a single parent”; “but he’s a minority”, etc.) This pity is often a projection coming from our own imaginations or guilt. It can be paternalistic and rarely results in good morale among your team members. It certainly doesn’t develop your workers.

I have seldom met adults who actually want to be pitied. It’s not the same as empathy; it’s demeaning and counter-productive!

Next time we’ll explore a few more of these “Dog Whisperer Lessons”.

Have you learned something from watching the show??

Need coaching to lead the way you were meant to?

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