My dog goes to doggy daycare where he has playtime, naptime, and a cot for naps (yes, please take a moment to make fun of THAT fact). While I’m a little ashamed to admit I pack a bag lunch for my dog, I have to admit that I’ve learned a lot about leadership while watching these dogs interact.
I’ve watched my dog enter the play yard where fifteen to twenty other large dogs are already at play, and here’s what I’ve observed:
The owner of the daycare told me this means he is the Alpha dog. She might say that to all the parents, but I’d like to believe it’s true because it makes my dog the leader and somehow justifies the monthly expense. So that I could watch for the behaviors at home, I asked her what characteristics make up an Alpha dog. She responded:
Attitude, determination, confidence, and strength.
She said the Alpha dogs exhibit consistent behavior that is trusted by the other dogs.
Here’s a question, if I put some of our corporate leaders in that yard, would others follow them? Would they be trusted? Would they pass the Alpha test?
Attitude: Great leaders should enter a new change arena with humility, keeping their head down until they determine what should be done. Once determined, their attitude should be one of positive encouragement. Too many leaders walk into change in attack mode, stating “I don’t like this either, but we have to do it.” This attitude provokes counter-attacks, not forward movement.
Determination: Great leaders stick with change until it is done. Too many leaders quickly give up on people and projects, fearful of a failure.
Confidence: A team will follow a leader who shows confidence in his or her company’s goals and initiatives. Leaders who spend their time tearing down other leaders and complaining about their own companies, which creates a cycle of fear.
Strength: Leaders exhibit strength through consistent behavior. They stand behind a new leader, initiative, or idea without flinching. Too many leaders refuse to stand behind anything unless it’s already proven to be successful. They want to climb up the ladder of success but without ever going out on a limb.
If you want to be an Alpha leader, then stand for something. Believe in the people around you even when others don’t. Walk away from gossip. Do what’s right. And pack a lunch. 🙂
Here’s the Kindle download version of my book on topics like the one above: