You may have noticed that yours truly has been absent from the blogosphere for several weeks. To be candid, I was very surprised by the results of the U.S. presidential election and I struggled to find my voice. Recently, however, I have been deeply moved by the very wise words of President Bark Obama that we all must work together to help the new administration succeed. His example has inspired me to shake off my reservations and focus on moving forward for the common good. So, to the new president, I want to share some candid canine advice for successful leadership.
First, a strong leader knows there is a time to be a big dog and a time to lie low. The judicious use of power builds trust, mutual respect and opens important lines of communication. In contrast, a bully flaunts power. Fear prompts people to tell the bully what he wants to hear, not what he needs to know. Meanwhile, they look for another big dog to fight for them. And remember, if you growl at everything that passes by, no one will take you seriously. When a leader is prudent in the exercise of power, his status is not diminished. This big dog will strike when needed and when that happens, it is understood that the action was warranted.
Root out factions in your organization. The world is burdened by innumerable manmade factions that prevent people from seeing the perspective and valuable contributions of those who are different. Factions are inimical to the common good. Enhance your team by combining diverse points of view, backgrounds and strengths.
Watch and learn from the dogs who have been around the block many times before. There is no substitute for experience.
Bark less, listen more. Looking back on my life, I cannot recall a single instance when I learned anything of value while my jowls were flapping.
And now, a few lessons from obedience school:
Sit. Stay. Use restraint in your immediate reaction to events and criticism. Think before you unleash your response. A small amount of time spent in thoughtful reflection and contemplation may save much more time than will be needed to explain what a poorly considered comment was intended to mean.
Heal. This is not a typo. I mean “heal” not “heel”. Much has been said about the need for healing in our country. Healing can’t be done through an executive order. Healing requires listening, understanding the diverse views and needs of this great nation, and demonstrating a genuine interest in the welfare of all citizens and in the common good.
On behalf of your faithful canine constituents, we wish you success and good health.
Your best friend,