Leadership

5 Things My Dogs Taught Me About Leadership

5 Things My Dogs Taught Me About Leadership
Image credit: Mauricio Lima | Flickr

We're searching for top company cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Apply Now »

My wife and I have three amazing dogs, Fenway, Lady and Stella.

Along with the sheer joy our dogs have given us over the years, they also possess several qualities that every leader could learn from.

5 Things My Dogs Taught Me About Leadership

Image credit: Julie Clegg

In my role as a leader at Porch.com, a home-improvement network, I am always looking for new ways to inspire and motivate our teams to be exceptional at what they do.

Here are five leadership lessons I have learned from observing my dogs on a daily basis.  

Related: How This 'Shark Tank' Contestant Found Love -- and Wealth -- By Spray Painting His Dog

1. Our dog is always looking for the best in people.

If you ever meet Lady you will notice that she has a smile from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. No matter who you are, she thinks you are the greatest person in the world at what you do.

Why is this a great leadership trait? People perform their best when they are setup to succeed. When they know their strengths will be maximized and their weaknesses protected, they run up the stairs each day. Great leaders look for the best in people, help them identify their best and watch them thrive.

Related: 4 Key Principles to Keep on Track and Sustain Focus

2. Our pooch loves to get his paws dirty.

If you want to achieve many of the rewards life has to offer, you need to get your hands dirty. For Fenway this means chasing his ball on the beach. No matter where the ball goes -- the water, the mud and the woods -- he never holds back.

Why is this a great leadership trait? If you are tackling a big, bold, audacious goal you need to surround yourself with people who are willing to jump in and get their hands dirty. It is not about ego. It’s about accomplishing the goals. Leaders need to look for people who are willing to remain accountable to completing the job they have started.

3. Our pup never forgets to enjoy the simple things.

Fenway loves when he gets his BarkBox in the mail. As much as he loves the toys, he loves to play with the actual cardboard box just as much.

Why is this a great leadership trait? A while back I wrote about the importance of the journey. The journey is the reward, and you should give yourself and your team the opportunity to enjoy the little things. Great leaders know that you need to celebrate the small wins that happen day in and day out as you keep the bigger goals in focus.

4. Making others happy makes my dog happy.

Our dogs always have their tails wagging. They are very happy pups. But what really makes them happy is when they know we are happy. When Stella plays fetch she can feel how excited we are when she brings the ball back.

Why this is a great leadership trait? In any work environment one principle should ring true above all others. It is all about the people. If your people are happy and engaged they will do great things for you. They will run through walls for you. I firmly believe that the more appreciation you show, the harder people work.

5. My dogs are fiercely loyal.

Our dogs are always by our side. No matter what happens -- the good times and the bad times -- the loyalty of a dog never wavers.

Why is this a great leadership trait? Success isn’t easy. There will be rough patches and streaks of success. Those who can learn and thrive when the chips are down are the ones who will accelerate and outperform when times are good. You want to be with people you know you can count on. Trust is priceless. 

Related: 25 Ways to Lead, Inspire and Motivate Your Team to Greatness