by Jayesh Menon
Irrespective of whether you own a dog or not, If you heard of the "dog whisperer" then you have the chance to learn from him a few aspects of being a leader in some way or the other.
Creating the right amount of energy
Cesar always cites how you should create a positive energy when you deal with dogs. It is the same in any organisation. A leader who creates a positive energy around him helps emotional engagement. Research from Gallup and many other organisations on engagement clearly states how a charismatic organisational leader( with the right amount of energy) can lead his team and the whole organisation towards the same goal.
Exercise discipline and affection
In one of his visits in Singapore, Cesar was showing how he used his skills, confidence , empathy and a bit of discipline to lead a dog for a walk with him outside which had never left its cage for the past 7 years!!. A good leader has to have a mix of right emotions, empathy and courage to take tough actions( even when it may not be immediately liked) . Sports coaches are another great example regarding this, where they put their teams through some rigorous schedules of discipline to bring the best in them without losing the respect for them as individuals.
Behavior is the outcome of a problem
We have heard this many times, but Cesar proves this with the dogs that he rehabilitates on how most of the behaviors like aggression are an outcome of a problem. Very often organisations focus on the outcomes rather than looking at the root cause of it. As a leader it would be good for us to look at the root cause of someone's behavior than looking at the behavior itself.
Train people and not dogs
This is one of the most interesting concepts that Cesar has. He states that he doesn't train dogs but people instead. This is an interesting concept, because very often when there is a problem within a team or the organisation , leaders do have a tendency to try to find ways to get their team members to be trained rather than looking at themselves short of the skills. One of the biggest issues with leadership is that when people grow as leaders the less "training" they receive on a regular basis. We all tend to believe that we have grown with the necessary skills and hence there is no need to get "trained" further, but as learning stops , so does growth. The skills of a leader need to be continuously re - evaluated especially for those who have to work as global managers or lead multi-generational groups.
The Pit bull myth
Cesar highlights in various occasions on how he tries to dispel the myth created by stories about certain breeds of dogs, and pit bulls seem to get caught in the wrong end of spectrum most of the time. Unfortunately when you state that someone is going to "take a pit bull approach" you tend to get the message that she/he is going to be aggressive. This can sometimes be seen as a typical stereotype associated with nationalities, races , gender etc. Though these may not be for real, unfortunately some leaders do get influenced by these stereotypes at various stages of managing people including recruiting to managing performance. It is however in the best interest of a leader to keep an open mind and let not be influenced by stereotypes.