Lessons in Leadership from the Family Dog

by Simone Spryszynski, Founder/Managing Director - Zoomies

Dogs enrich our lives far beyond the role of a family pet; they serve as vigilant guardians and empathetic companions, often providing us comfort without a word. They show us the importance of living in the moment and how to appreciate the simplest of pleasures. They teach us about life, and even leadership, if we care to take note. 

Watching my Jack Russell navigate his day is forever an intriguing and educational experience. Through his behaviour and instincts, I have learnt valuable lessons that have shaped my approach to leadership in insightful ways. Here are just three examples, that I now, always remember.

1. Trust your gut

Much like the leaders of the pack in the wild, domesticated dogs are guided by their instincts. They don't second-guess their gut reactions; they act on them. As leaders, we often have access to a wealth of information and advice, but sometimes, the best course of action is to trust our gut. After all, our instincts are shaped by our years of experiences and knowledge. As our inner compass, it can guide us through life’s decisions, leading to choices that feel right at a core level.

2. Never stop being curious

Have you ever noticed how dogs are perpetually curious? Whether it's a new scent, sound, or sight, they're always eager to explore. This trait is something that as leaders we should emulate. The world is constantly changing and being curious means staying informed and ahead of the curve. Ask questions, seek out new experiences, and always remain open to learning something. Curiosity not only leads to innovation but also keeps the mundane at bay, making every day an opportunity for discovery.

3. Praise your team members

Dogs thrive on positive reinforcement. A simple "good boy" or a treat works wonders for their morale. Similarly, in the workplace, recognition and praise are powerful tools. Acknowledging the efforts of your team members, even the most self-sufficient ones, not only makes them feel good, but it reinforces positive behaviours that contribute to success. For no matter who you are, a compliment never goes "a-stray!"

There are so many other ways that our dogs teach us about life and leadership, but by learning to trust your intuition, fostering your curiosity, and generously offering praise, we can all exhibit a leadership style that's effective as it is humanistic.

So, the next time you're looking for guidance, there may be no need to look too far; you might just find it sitting right next to you, wagging its tail! 

To find out more about Zoomies play centre (for dogs and their humans!), email simone@zoomies.au or call 0427 213 529.

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