Is Your Leadership Style More Like a Cat or a Dog?

 There are cat people, and there are dog people. But when you think about your leadership style, are you more like a cat or a dog?

Never thought about cats, dogs, and leadership in the same sentence? Honestly, I hadn’t either. Then I had an “a-ha” moment. A couple days ago, I was watching a cat-and-dog video, and I made the connection. The timing was great: it was right after I published my post about leadership strategy in conjunction with employee experience and employee engagement. The leadership strategy entailed “creating the right conditions to allow employees to become engaged.

So back to the video and the connection I was making. Let’s first take a quick look at that video, and I dare you not to smile!

Link to this video

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Leadership Style of the Dog
The dog’s leadership style includes the following traits and qualities, many of the same ones needed to create the right conditions to allow the employee to become engaged. (There might be a few missing, but you get the idea.)

  • Loyalty: she stayed with her puppy and didn’t leave him in times of trouble.
  • Encouragement: she encouraged him to keep trying and was quite persistent at that.
  • Acknowledgement: she recognized that the pup needed help, and she acknowledged him for achieving his goal.
  • Direction: she provided step-by-step (literally) guidance for how to do what the puppy was trying to do.
  • Nurturing: clearly she cares for her pup and encouraged his growth and development.
  • Trust: she instilled trust in herself through her actions, which helped to allay the puppy’s fears.
  • Enthusiasm: through her guidance and nurturing, she expressed enthusiasm and the “you can do it” attitude.
  • Accountability: she held herself responsible for modeling the behavior and actions she expected from her pup.
  • Communication: she had her own special way of communicating with the puppy, to teach and to encourage.
  • Helpful: she was there, by his side, ready to provide assistance when needed.

When human leaders use these qualities and principles, they create a workplace and a culture that is beneficial to both employees and customers – and, ultimately, to the business and its shareholders.

Leadership Style of the Cat
The cat’s leadership style, on the other hand, is quite the opposite; there’s no guidance or nurturing. All trust is gone, especially after that little push. As an employee, have you ever felt like you’ve been set free, even pushed over the edge, while leadership stands idly by, observes, denigrates, and does nothing to prepare you for what’s to come?

In which environment would you rather work? Which is your leadership style? The dog’s or the cat’s?

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. -Ernest Hemingway

Image courtesy of Coloiris

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 3

  • StarlaZee says:

    I hope you are joking about the dog being better than the cat. Basing your premise on someone’s home “pet” video is pretty stupid.

  • Joana says:

    I enjoyed this comparison of leadership styles using the pet video. It made me laugh, and made me think about how I lead my staff, and how I prefer to be led/mentored by my superiors! Thanks, Annette!

  • Bill J. says:

    I think this is a great way to exemplify establishing trust.

    Have you ever had service from someone where it was there first day on the job? Did they mess up your order? Did you yell at them or see the situation as an opportunity to offer an encouraging word and coach them?

    Remember your first day at your first job? Was your supervisor, manager, boss a dog or cat? How much do you want to be like that person?

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