If you have a pet dog at home, raising it can also hone your leadership abilities. While dogs are cute and cuddly, owning one or more is not a walk in a park. That is why caring for them builds your character as well. Why not apply these skills to your business, particularly in leading your team.
Managing people and directing them towards your goals can be a tough act. Even when you have systems in place, the distinctive characters of individuals compels you to employ varied strategies and courses of action for every situation. Leadership is not just about holding a position. The very essence of it is the relationship one holds with those he oversees.
On a similar note, the bond that the pet owner and dogs share is crucial in shaping the kind of domesticated animal the latter can become. Thus, pay attention to insights that dog ownership can carry over to running a business and leading a team. Both are about taking responsibilities and ensuring that those cared for are well-provided and trained.
Canines are loyal and dependable, but they are also aggressive and ferocious. They respond to commands only when you have established your authority over them. It is important to stress this from the beginning. Not that you have to be stern at all times, but you also have to conduct yourself worthy of the respect that goes with that authority. As they say, dogs can smell your fear. The same way with humans, who can sense when you hesitate or when you are sincere in your words and actions. It is essential that you exude confidence, firmness and certainty to assure your people that you understand your obligations and that they can rely on you for direction, instruction, advice and guidance.
Care and protection
When you are the pet owner, dogs know that you are in command, but they also recognise that you are their friend. You care for them by providing them protection from harsh elements, food for their nourishment, and other essentials that can make them grow healthy and strong. Leading a team, no matter how big or small, means you are looking after their welfare. They’ll work as hard as they can if they know that you care for their needs and show concern to their well-being. A leader takes the frontline, not cower behind his staff, which includes taking accountability for his people’s actions.
As an individual and leader, you have to grow constantly. Such growth extends to your team. Dog owners train their pets various tricks not only to show it off to others but also to teach these animals skills and capabilities to survive in certain situations. You can bring your business only to as far as where the capacity of your people can support you. Set up a plan to develop your staff as individuals and as a team. Introduce them to new information and know-how, while you also seek avenues to improve yourself. EO Melbourne has been providing entrepreneurs with various learning events and activities, which they can take to their business and pass on their knowledge to their team.
Reward and punishment
Part of training your dog and strengthen your bond is to give positive reinforcement. You give a treat when they obey your command or do something well. Conversely, discipline is needed when they go out of line. Rewards and punishment are ways of acknowledging good results and setting order and boundaries in your organisation. Recognition and correction are necessary to improve the performance of your people. It is also to exercise fairness, especially to those who follow the rules and exceed expectations.
Play and work
Dogs love to have fun. Play deepens the friendship between master and pet. Enhance the work conditions in your business where your people find joy in doing their tasks, spending time in the company of their colleagues and imbibing the culture of your establishment. Set aside time for them to relax, unwind and celebrate. But don’t overdo it. Too much of anything, whether play or work, may be harmful to the overall setting of your enterprise. Remember that you have goals to reach and obligations to fulfil.
Having a team with different personalities may be a challenge for any leader. It takes wisdom to balance the peculiarities of each member and unite them towards the direction you want to take them. You have to be strong enough to weather any conflict or hardship, yet inspiring enough to inject positivity in any circumstance. The outcome of good leadership is the loyalty of the people and their faithfulness to support you in achieving your vision.