“I rehabilitate dogs; I train people.” -Cesar Milan
I must admit that I am a great fan of the tv series, The Dog Whisperer. Actually, if truth be known, I am addicted. But then I am in good company since the show is one of the most popular on the tube and everywhere I go in the US, and even in the UK, it is easy to strike up a conversation about Cesar and how he is able to change the behavior of unruly dogs.
One day, after watching the program religiously for weeks, the light bulb suddenly flashed on in my head. What we initially see as abnormal dog behavior, excessive barking, biting, attacking other dogs, pooping in the hall, hiding under the bed, chewing up pillow and sofas is simply the result of poor leadership on the part of their human owners. The dogs are normal, it’s the owners that are defective!
And immediately my mind went from canine behavior to corporate culture and a very familiar leadership principle popped into my mind:
“Organizations are shadows of their leaders; that’s the good news and the bad news!”
Employees tend to take on the positive or negative behavioral characteristics of the leadership team. If the leadership team is not aligned, complaining and blaming, then that behavior is magnified down into the organization and departments tend to not get along, are defensive and non-trusting. It is the responsibility of those in leadership positions to manage their behavior in ways that match the espoused and declared leadership values.
After watching The Dog Whisperer for many weeks it became obvious that neurotic behavior in dogs is nearly always a shadow of the undisciplined, neurotic behavior of their owners. Cesar shows us that timid and fearful owners tend to have dogs that act overly aggressively. Owners who are inconsistent with their commands to their pets tend to create dogs who are “un-trainable” and unruly. Shadows of their Owners.
Now it is obvious the meaning of Ceasar’s opening line to his weekly show: “I rehabilitate dogs; I train people!”
Tight Lines . . .
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