Physically, dogs are an interesting species. Some
adult dogs are larger than a teenage boy and others fit into a purse. A dog’s personality can also materialize in many different ways. Some have a heart of gold, others live to work, and others can best be described as mean. Certainly, there are differences. There are also certain truisms that define a dog’s character. Many of these provide valuable insights into how we should behave as we interact with others in the workplace.
Communicate what you want: Dogs don’t make you guess what they are thinking or feeling. They will let you know if they are scared, angry, frustrated, happy, or hungry. In business, keep in mind
that it’s easier to get along with someone when they are transparent.
Forgive others: Dogs’ personalities are shaped by how people treat them, but they don’t hold a grudge. Act accordingly if someone you work with treats you poorly, but realize that sometimes it’s important to forgive the people who matter most.
Leadership emerges over time: Dogs know there is no natural pack leader. It takes subtle cues, a battle of wills, and a deliberate attempt to figure out who is really the head of the pack. You earn leadership positions in your workplace by how you interact with others.
Loyalty matters: A dog will commit to those who are most important in its life. Acknowledge those who are important in your career, build those relationships, and ensure your actions reflect an appropriate level of commitment.
Optimism is contagious: Dogs are always excited to do something new. Simply picking up a ball can send a dog into a frenzy. We do our best work in a positive and fun atmosphere. Be part of building a can-do attitude in your workplace.
Be present: When a dog is with you it is not looking over your shoulder. It’s focused on you. Acknowledge your coworkers and pay attention to what they have to say.
Training influences behaviour: A large part of a dog’s general behaviour stems from what it learns in everyday life. If a dog is taught to stay next to your heel on a walk, you can expect a calm walk throughout adulthood.
Consider how adjustments to your own workplace behaviour may influence your performance.
First published in the December 2018 edition of The Business Advisor.