Leadership Lessons from “The Dog Whisperer” – Part 2

Leadership Lessons from “The Dog Whisperer” – Part 2

This is part two of my series on leadership lessons from watching the Dog Whisperer  TV show  (His new show is called “Leader of the Pack”). As Cesar Millan says, “I rehabilitate dogs but I train people”.

 Your team needs your “Calm Assertive Energy”

The number one personality type of the most hated bosses (and the ones who get attacked by their employees) is the Type A, in your face, screaming, everything-is-a-crisis type. Not only are these types of bosses abusive, they are also completely ineffective. They lower more than morale. They lower productivity as well, creating an atmosphere where the work is no longer the priority, but staying out of the madman’s  (or madwoman’s) way is.

Calm assertive energy, on the other hand, comes from a secure non-anxious leader who people will not be afraid of coming to for help, from whom the team will take their constructive feedback, and for whom the team will actually work harder  and longer than the Type A’s team.

You must recognize the different types of difficult people (aggressive dominant, etc.)

Cesar can distinguish types of barking dogs from those that bark from fear, from nervousness and those who bark because they really want to take a bite out of you. He then treats them accordingly.

We, too, must learn to distinguish between insecure whiners, aggressive and passive aggressive troubled employees. They each need a different sort of correction. (Or for  true aggressors, perhaps expulsion)

The pack, itself,  can bring the unruly ones into line

Sometimes Cesar Millan will bring a dysfunctional dog home with him to his Dog Psychology Center and there, living among healthy, normal dogs the dysfunctional one will rediscover what it means to be a dog: to follow the leader, play nice, observe protocol.

I was shocked to realize that sometimes I do this with dysfunctional people. I “throw them” into the midst  of a healthy team, working on a project and let the healthy behaviors model something new, yet “right” for the unhealthy person.  For many, it’s the first successful experience of being part of a positive working unit and their behaviors, responses, and ethics slowly begin to change.


Have you learned anything from the Dog Whisperer, or simply from observing nature that helps you as a leader?

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