A Leadership Lesson from the Dog Whisperer

I admire the passion of Cesar Millan, star of National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer. Cesar works with man’s best friend to help create a much more positive and enjoyable home life.  I have noticed a common thread throughout the Dog Whisperer’s work: bad behavior in dogs is not necessarily the fault of the dog, but the OWNER!

Wow! This juggernaut of wisdom has application to the cubicle jungles all across America.  During my years as a people practices consultant and human resource practitioner, I have found that adverse behavior, or negative energy, in the workplace is not necessarily the fault of employees but a natural reflection of OWNER or LEADER behavior.

To be the pack leader that every dog wants, Millan espouses calm-assertive leadership.  He states that leadership is all about doing what’s good for the pack and that harmony can only be created when someone is in control.

In no way am I comparing employees to dogs, but the comparison to leadership principles rings loud and clear.

In his book, “Be the Pack Leader,” he states that calm-assertive leaders exude calm-assertive energy. “Animals don’t follow unstable leaders,” says Millan. “Only humans have leaders who lie and get away with it,” states the mild-mannered Dog Whisperer.  Not too many leaders fit the calm-assertive category in my past.  In fact, I can only recall one.

You may ask, what is so great about calm-assertive leadership? A research study cited in “Be the Pack Leader” shows that “nurses in cardiac care units who were grumpy and depressed had four times higher death rates among their patients than those units where nurses’ moods were more balanced.”  Attitudes and behaviors are contagious, both positive and negative.

Those of us who are leaders have a great deal to learn from man’s best friend.

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