Monday, August 10, 2009

Leadership Lessons from the Dog Whisperer

I’ve been studying the Dog Whisperer for several months. Like all people with core insights, Cesar Millan’s understanding of dog sociology and psychology borders on the mystical. Quite simply, like no other dog trainer or animal professional I’ve been able to find, Cesar “gets it.” He can be both man and dog.. and when he’s dog he is always alpha-dog, the pack leader.

In the dog world, Cesar understands what it means to be pack leader and demonstrates that understanding in every movement, every decision. Understanding pack leadereship holds clues for human leadership, too. Here are a few leadership lessons from Cesar Millan.

1. Above all, a leader is “calm and assertive.” Unless seriously (and stupidly) challenged, no need to growl, fight, or injure. The leader simply takes charge.

2. The pack wants to follow the leader because – above all- the pack needs the leader for its own survival. If the leader doesn’t take control, another dog will.

3. With leadership goes responsibility. The leader goes first, makes decisions, assumes risk, protects all pack members. Calm and assertive.

4. Leaders see the value of every pack member. With proper leadership, weak members can be made stronger, impetuous pack members can be calmed, over-aggressive pack members can be dominated. The pack wins.

5. When necessary – though rarely -- the leader can follow. In doing so, he accedes nothing permanent, but gains pack control advantage.

Final note: Cesare teaches that dogs are ready and eager to give humans the lead. The vast array of dog “problems” stem from humans who are weak, unwilling to assume the responsibilities of leadership, and choose “bonding” over leadership.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

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