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


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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!

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

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Annette Franz
Annette Franz is founder and Chief Experience Officer of CX Journey Inc. She is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She has 25+ years of experience in helping companies understand their employees and customers in order to identify what makes for a great experience and what drives retention, satisfaction, and engagement. She's sharing this knowledge and experience in her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).


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