Owning a dog can be one of the most rewarding jobs on the planet. They bring joy to our lives and teach us about friendship, loyalty, and love. But did you know dogs can also teach us important lessons about leadership?
Many of you have heard of my dog, Lok. He’s a Vizsla, one of the smallest pointer breeds of dogs. He’s my running companion, having trained with me for my multiple half marathons and the one full marathon I’ve run. There’s just something special about dogs.
Through him, I’ve learned so much about leadership and the traits it takes to be a great leader. Today, we will look at what I’ve learned from my dog and nine leadership traits you can learn from your dog.
9 Leadership Traits You Can Learn From Your Dog
When we first got Lok, we stopped by a Chick-Fil-A for lunch. A large group of motorcycles roared past the restaurant. He became scared of loud noises for a while. He lost his confidence.
However, he regained his confidence over time. He is no longer scared of the sound of motorcycles, or much of anything.
Leaders have to learn how to grow their confidence. When something traumatic happens, you might lose the confidence you once had. You can get the confidence back.
Lok is the first pure-bred dog we’ve owned. With that, we were told there would be specific issues we would have with the breed regarding the amount of exercise he would need and destructive behavior.
We’ve discovered most of these issues to be overstated. Instead, Lok has been a remarkably adaptable dog.
The leadership trait of adaptability is a huge one for leaders. Situations are rapidly changing, new problems arise, and you have to deal with them.
Learn how to gain the trait of adaptability.
Our previous dogs have all been sneaky. They would snatch a treat or counter surf. Not so with Lok.
Lok is probably the most honest dog we’ve met. He doesn’t hide his feelings and he doesn’t steal his treats.
Another trait leaders need to have is the trait of honesty. Without honesty, you cannot be a good leader.
Make sure you’re leading a life of integrity.
One thing I can count on with Lok is that he is dependable. Time for a run? He will remind me. Time to go to grandma’s? He’s wagging his tail at the door.
He knows when certain activities are supposed to happen. He is dependable in that sense.
Are you dependable? I wrote an article about being dependable and on time. Leaders need to be dependable in their words, deeds, and actions.
5. Sense of humor:
We’ve got some amazingly hilarious photos of Lok. He has such a sense of humor.
Sometimes, we think leaders cannot laugh. There’s this stoicness we’ve forced upon ourselves.
I want to encourage you to leave stoic behind. Grab onto humor.
What’s the saying? You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You’ll engage your people more with humor than anything else.
We tried to train Lok using dog treats. We’d find the stinkiest, tastiest treats we could for his training. None of that mattered.
What drove Lok to perform was his outgoingness. He loved people and he wanted to be with them.
Leaders are outgoing, even if they’re an introvert. Find ways to interact with your team, customers, and others. The more outgoing you are, the more connections you make. This will help you go further.
7. High energy:
Lok is full of energy. The way he bounces and runs and plays tells us so.
His high energy level can be draining for us. The same can be said for your team.
When you’re full of high energy, you can drain your team. Yet, leaders need to be high energy.
The energy level you put out is the level of energy your team will give back.
Dogs are known to be loyal to their humans. Lok is no exception. He is loyal to Pamela and me.
He loves us, follows us, and respects us. Loyal!
Leaders, are you loyal to your team? Do you care for them? Do you make sure you’re looking out for their interests?
Be a loyal leader. Put your team first.
What happens when I don’t go for a run? Lok pesters me. What happens when Lok wants to get into the blankets on your bed? He will smack us in the back until we let him in.
Lok is nothing if not persistent.
Persistence is a trait leaders need to have. You’re going to encounter situations where you have to continue to push forward through the struggle.
Be persistent in moving things forward.