I’m a dog lover. I say that proudly even though studies suggest cat people are smarter.
Dogs have their perks. They’re social, smart, and loyal. And according to a study by the University of California at Berkeley dog owners are typically extroverted, agreeable, energetic, fun and conscientious.
Watching my dogs this weekend made me realize that many of their traits can also help humans in the workplace. From leading the pack, to setting boundaries, they are able to navigate new settings and show humans a great example for working in teams.
So without further ado, I share with you “5 Workplace Lessons Learned From Watching My Dogs“.
1. Set Boundaries
When Teddy came into our home we already had Shadow. And Shadow had a routine. He believed his way was the right way because that was all he knew. Teddy didn’t let that deter him. He barked and asserted himself, as needed, making it clear that he also had ideas of how things should be run. He did it from the onset, which showed Shadow that he could not walk all over him. And it worked! They’re the best of friends because boundaries were established.
When starting a new job, or working with a team, you will be faced with co-workers who are like Shadow, set in their way. Don’t cower. Change takes time. Speak up, respectfully. You may be surprised at the reception!
2. Assert Yourself When Necessary
Shadow eats very quickly. He used to gobble down his food in the hopes of stealing some of Teddy’s food. Teddy nipped that in the bud. He asserted himself with a snarl that sent Shadow cowering!
At work you may have to assert yourself as well. Don’t bare your teeth like Teddy did, but do stand up to the pushy co-worker.
Stand straight. Speak up and state your issue calmly and assertively. Do not use passive aggressive statements. If asserting yourself does not work, enlist your supervisor’s help. Explain the situation and follow it up with an email – a paper trail is vital.
Dogs are marvelous creatures. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been gone two minutes or two hours, they will greet you with enthusiasm. And it’s contagious! Seeing that joy on their faces melts our hearts. In fact, that tail and booty shake can turn our day around!
Our smiles are the equivalent of a dog’s tail and booty shake. Greet everyone with a smile, even those who have done you wrong. Your smile could turn a sourpuss into a friend, or at minimum a less obnoxious co-worker. And if it doesn’t, don’t worry! keep smiling. Never let anyone steal your joy.
4. Don’t Hold Grudges
Recently Teddy “borrowed” my youngest son’s soccer socks. We searched high and low for them and after about an hour found them at the bottom of his toy bin. He received a time-out for taking the socks. When let out, he didn’t hold a grudge. Nope. When released, that silly pup of ours licked our faces!
Dogs are able to forget slights because they have a very short memory span of just 2 minutes. Humans, on the other hand, have no problem recalling information, especially when we have been wronged. Yet, holding onto a grudge will not just affect your work, but your health. So let it go. For you. Not them.
5. Leaders Let Others Shine
Teddy is our alpha dog. You wouldn’t guess this by looking at him. He’s much smaller then Shadow, by about 10 pounds. He’s also laid back and allows Shadow to take the lead when it comes to certain things, like greeting strangers. Teddy knows his limitations and doesn’t mind letting Shadow shine. He knows that Shadow is much better with strangers so he allows Shadow to lead when faced with this situation. This trait cements his status as a leader.
Great leaders let others shine. They know their limitations. They are fine with letting those who have the skills that they lack shine, because they understand that the pack/team will benefit from it.
Although I’ve just listed 5 Workplace Lessons Learned From Watching My Dogs, I’m sure there are many more things that dogs could teach us. If you have a story you’ll like to share about how you’ve learned from your pet, leave it in a comment!
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