Lessons on leadership from Maisy (1)

18 01 2009

Just back from a great walk with our dog Maisy. She got me thinking about leadership as we wandered through the fields.

We initially took her to Kennel Club puppy training which I have to say simply didn’t work. For either the dog or for us. Labrador retrievers are known for various characteristics. They are loyal, intelligent, faithful and will do most anything for food. At the end of about 10 weeks at KC training she had figured out exactly what was required of her, that she could do it if she wanted to and that, now being pleasantly fat, she really didn’t need to bother any more.

After two particularly bad experiences with open fields, roads and running away we decided to take chubby puppy to Gun Dog class. 20 minutes into our first lesson she was a totally different dog. Why? Because her owners were now leaders rather than simply offering treats.

I’m not saying things are perfect now but the difference is total. Most importantly, the dog and her owners are much happier. Maisy has also lost all that extra weight too. Rather than just playmates who provided food and entertainment, she now regards us as her pack leader, she looks for approval in what she does and takes guidance on behaviour. It hasn’t stopped her being tons of fun or having independence but has established who is who in the pack and that the adult is the leader.

Now I’m, not espousing dog training methods in place of leadership but I think there are various lessons that I am learning from training my dog. I think there may be more than one post.

Lessons on leadership from Maisy-

  1. Leadership is sometimes done from behind.

As we were out in the fields today Maisy would bound on ahead but never more than about 20m. Then she would stop, turn around and look directly at me for instruction. Did I want her to come back, was she to stop and stay or was it okay to carry on as I was carrying on.out-on-the-fosse

Sometimes I think good leaders should let those that work with them go on ahead, take their independence a little further and develop themselves. Too often we see leaders as the pathfinder, the pack leader the sole determiner of action and purpose.

Maisy was ahead of me all the way today but I was the one ultimately deciding where we were going but she had a great time exploring.

Not all leading is done from the front.

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One response

24 01 2009
Howard

Like the bit that not all leading is done from the front . It’s important and part of a leader’s role to help others discover their giftings and abilities ( and what they’re not good at or ‘called ‘ to do )and to help lead or guide them into those areas .
People don’t follow titles or ranks , they follow leaders
H

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