Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is Your Leadership Style More Like a Cat or a Dog?

Image courtesy of Coloiris
There are cat people, and there are dog people. But when you think about your leadership style, are you more like a cat or a dog?

Never thought about cats, dogs, and leadership in the same sentence? Honestly, I hadn't either. Then I had an "a-ha" moment. A couple days ago, I was watching a cat-and-dog video, and I made the connection. The timing was great: it was right after I published my post about leadership strategy in conjunction with employee experience and employee engagement. The leadership strategy entailed "creating the right conditions to allow employees to become engaged."

So back to the video and the connection I was making. Let's first take a quick look at that video, and I dare you not to smile!


Leadership Style of the Dog
The dog's leadership style includes the following traits and qualities, many of the same ones needed to create the right conditions to allow the employee to become engaged. (There might be a few missing, but you get the idea.)
  • Loyalty: she stayed with her puppy and didn't leave him in times of trouble.
  • Encouragement: she encouraged him to keep trying and was quite persistent at that.
  • Acknowledgement: she recognized that the pup needed help, and she acknowledged him for achieving his goal.
  • Direction: she provided step-by-step (literally) guidance for how to do what the puppy was trying to do.
  • Nurturing: clearly she cares for her pup and encouraged his growth and development.
  • Trust: she instilled trust in herself through her actions, which helped to allay the puppy's fears.
  • Enthusiasm: through her guidance and nurturing, she expressed enthusiasm and the "you can do it" attitude.
  • Accountability: she held herself responsible for modeling the behavior and actions she expected from her pup.
  • Communication: she had her own special way of communicating with the puppy, to teach and to encourage.
  • Helpful: she was there, by his side, ready to provide assistance when needed.
When human leaders use these qualities and principles, they create a workplace and a culture that is beneficial to both employees and customers - and, ultimately, to the business and its shareholders.

Leadership Style of the Cat
The cat's leadership style, on the other hand, is quite the opposite; there's no guidance or nurturing. All trust is gone, especially after that little push. As an employee, have you ever felt like you've been set free, even pushed over the edge, while leadership stands idly by, observes, denigrates, and does nothing to prepare you for what's to come?
    In which environment would you rather work? Which is your leadership style? The dog's or the cat's?

    The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. -Ernest Hemingway

    15 comments:

    1. I am definitely a dog person. Loved this thought your observations were spot on.

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      1. Thanks, Joe! Glad you enjoyed it. Dogs seem to be winning this one, based on thoughts across social media. :-) No surprise!

        Annette :-)

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    2. Never did like Cats, now I realise my boss is one

      Thanks for that

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      1. James,

        That's awesome! Glad I was able to help you clarify that. ;-)

        Annette :-)

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    3. Hi Annette,
      Great video and confirms why I like dogs more than cats.

      Did you realise that the list you created spells out "Lead 'n Teach" which sort of describes exactly what you are talking about, right?

      Adrian

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      1. Adrian,

        LOL... it's true... there are clear dog and cat people!

        And yes, I did realize it... not at first, when I was listing the qualities after watching the video, but then I added a couple to make it more intentional.

        Annette :-)

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    4. Annette,

      Great blog and video, such a unique and innovative way to present a case.

      I will be, if you allow me, use this video in future training

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      1. Thanks, Tareq! Hope you are well. Yes, absolutely... feel free to share this post and use it for training.

        Annette :-)

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    5. Annette, this is awesome. I've added a new screening question to all management candidates we seek. "As a leader, are you a cat person or a dog person?" This could turn into a thesis!

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      1. Thanks, Andrew! Keep me posted on how that goes. I'm curious about how folks respond... and what % of each you'll get.

        Annette :-)

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    6. Hey Annette, really nice post with great video.. i like the dog person. thanks for sharing such an insightful post over here..
      Personal Leadership Development Training Program

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      1. Thanks so much for the feedback. I think a lot of people are on the same side as you!

        Annette :-)

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    7. Okay this was biased against cats!

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    8. The cat was not teaching her kitten...it was another adult cat and they were playing. You've obviously never seen a momma cat with her kittens. She will die for them. This so called leadership style video creates more ill will toward cats. Cats already die in greater numbers at animal controls...you are so wrong and your theory is flawed. Why don't you find out how cats really are and then see if a cat leadership style might not be just as effective for leading people who are not dog-like in nature.

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