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What dogs can teach you about leadership

When I first got my dog Chase (AKA Sausage) she was petrified.

Someone had told me about 7 mixed breed daschund puppies who'd been rescued from a hoarding house.

If you're not familiar with what that is, it's a house in which the people who live there have a disease that means they don't throw anything out.

Not even used food and rubbish.

I'll never forget the first day I went to meet her in the park.

She was petrified, pulling at the lead trying to jump away from me yelping like she was distressed.

Fast forward 8 years and she has made leaps and bounds.

She feels very safe around me and my partner now.

But I still couldn't get her to stop pulling on the lead when I walked her outside.

She'd get scared of the sound of the cars and anything else loud.

She also needed more training to be trusted around toddlers now we had kids and a second on the way.

Enter: Sharon the dog trainer.

Sharon is a magician with dogs.

Within 2 minutes of being in my house she had Chase more attentive than ever.

And then something happened that changed my understanding of dogs and leadership forever.

Chase tried to bite and Sharon screamed at her.

After she yelled she placed her hand out so that chase could lick her hand and know she was safe.

She responded well.

Becoming more obedient after this.

Then more commands were given to her as we practised on a walk.

Now this is what Sharon said to me that changed the way I look at my dog.

"Dogs need to be directed, they need to know who's in charge otherwise they will try to lead"

When I heard this it made so much sense why she'd been misbehaving.

I was treating her like a human.

Because throughout my entire career of leadership in the military and with clients who want to enhance their leadership.

Aside from when they felt incredibly unsafe, they didn't need to be led.

They didn't need to be told what to do.

They needed to be inspired so that they discover their own inspired vision.

They needed an example of leadership.

That's the difference between dogs and humans.

Dogs need to be controlled by their owners otherwise they take over.

Humans need to control themselves and be empowered to do so.

Too many leaders think about influence, which has its place.

But influence means nothing if you're not a walking example of the results you're teaching.

As a parent, are you telling your child what to do?

Or showing them?

In your relationship, how can you better lead by example, without the need to control others?

True leadership is doing everything you say you do, and living what you desire for others.

Maybe the only reason we feel is when these two things need to become in sync again.

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