Hi, my name is Jonathan, and by the end of this post, my hope is that you realize I am the next John Maxwell. Really a hybrid of John Maxwell and Stephen Covey, with the jawline of Tony Robbins.
If I haven't captivated your attention by now, I'm not sure what gives. Was it the jawline comparison? Too much?
In all seriousness, leadership can be a funny thing. Perhaps much like my personal comparison to the three listed above.
I was thinking about this post earlier this week, so I decided to take my dog for a walk. I figured maybe the aroma of Walter(my bowling-ball shaped English Bulldog) and the gray, hazy aesthetic of Seattle would really get the creative juices flowing. Doesn't it sound inspiring?
As I was walking him down our steps, I had this funny thought. In some ways, walking your dog is a lot like leadership. (Another great comparison!)
Please, let me try and explain.
I think the analogy is closer than you might realize.
Here are a couple of parallels.
1. Dogs, like people, need direction. Unlike animals who run in packs, people run in tribes, and tribes have _____ (leaders!)
When not enough leadership is present in a dog’s life, they can become very chaotic. In the wild (or like people in any group situation at any point in time throughout history... follow?), dogs will always identify a pack leader who sets the tone for the entire group. That alpha dog dictates when they go walking, how and where they walk, how many times they pass by a place that gives free treats, etc. As a leader, set the tone. Know where you are going and be confident, but also be open to unexpected paths that could lead to great adventure.
2. Dogs, like people, will try and "train" you if not enough leadership is present.
I think there are probably a few ways to look at this, but I am going to go with the one that sticks out most to me. As a leader it is imperative to know your people. In order to lead them effectively, you need to know what makes them tick, what drives them. As with dogs and rewarding good behaviors, what traits will cause your group to trust you and give you their best? All the while, making those tough decisions like pulling your dog's leash when they try and go back to smell their crap. (yeah, it happens with people too) It typically takes the form of past failure, taking an offense, or fill in the blank with any number of things. People have a tendency to dwell on things that can be incredible time wasters, and they need you as a leader to pull their proverbial leash and say, "hey, time to leave that behind and keep going. Besides, I think I hear that ice cream truck just ahead." With your people, be sensitive to their needs, but at the same time be what they want you to be. Their leader.
Just call me Jonathan Milan. The Dog Whisperer in waiting.
Jonathan and his wife Christie are coming up on their first full year in Seattle, Washington where they moved to from Kansas City. He will enter the final stretch of a two-year program at a Bible College there, and his wife is working to pay the bills. (ha, only partly kidding).
He also helped a church open a coffee shop where he works through the week. He's grateful that Seattle isn't really known for coffee, so the job is pretty laid back.