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This is Daisy and Buddy. Daisy is a mongrel mutt we found on the streets of downtown LA living off cheetos and fries given to her by students at Berendo Middle School. We think she’s about 13 years old now. Buddy is pure breed English Bull dog who I got as a puppy. He just turned five last month. And dogs, not just Buddy and Daisy, are social animals that as science learns more about them become not just pets but actual partners to the human race for almost time immemorial. And if you’ve ever have had a dog or visited someone who has, you know the welcome you receive when you come home. A welcome of excitement, joy, and love. Your dog makes you feel like you are the best. It’s unconditional. Your dog looks up to you. What does your dog see in you that you may not even see in yourself?
Scientist have done brain scans of dogs and found that when they see their owner the rewards center of the dogs brain lights up. I would hope so! I feed the dog, house it, walk it, play with it; I am a river to my people! Being a leader is not so much what others can do for you; it’s what you do for others. Some people use the term servant leadership. Some have termed this as being a servant-leader. The Center for Servant Leadership says that a the servant leader makes sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. For Buddy, that would be dinner. But for people, we know it’s more. It’s a sense of belonging, purpose, growth, and still more.
Daisy, as I mentioned, is a mutt. A street dog. 20lbs and not much to look at. But dog gone it, she’s smart! She’s outsmarted me several times as more than once I’ve come home only to find her lounging on our front yard after I know I left her in the back yard. After, I’ve build fences, cover escape routes, filled holes, this dog has still figured out a way to get out. People have heard me call her a ninja as I once witnessed her scale a wall horizontally! And because we had Daisy came first she’s the big dog even though Buddy outweighs her by twice as much. Buddy is a great looking and loving dog but he’s also a dog of very little brain. Daisy outthinks him on a regular basis. Not everyone you work with is going to have all the same skill sets. People will have aptitudes in one area but not in others. Don’t get upset with them for what they are not: appreciate them for what they are. Find their strengths and build upon those. There are several books and a train of thought that says just that: while we should strive to grow in all areas there is nothing wrong with building on our existing strengths.
Buddy at quite a bit of furniture when he was a pup. Did I get mad? Sure. But I also reminded myself: he’s a puppy. Getting mad at a teething puppy is like getting made at the rain for getting you wet. My job was to figure out ways to manage that need to teeth and remember he wasn’t doing it to be mean or a bad dog. He had a need that I was not meeting. People are always going to drop the ball. Not everyone all the time but most of them some of the time. Do I blow my top and let the other person have it?! No. but I do recognize as an opportunity for both of us to grow.
Finally, let me point out a commanality in these areas: they call for the best in you. Not the meanest, the toughest, the most demanding; these are qualities that ask you to be the person I believe you were meant to be. A giver, who values others, and forgives because enlighted self interest says you will get those back. These pooches give me everything they got, they value me for me, and the forgive me even if is make a mess of something. Are those not qualities you want people to offer you as well? To give to you and support you? To value you? To forgive you if there was an honest error? You get what you give folks and as Buddy and Daisy have shown us sometime you get more back than you put in. In Toastmasters we ask everyone to take a leadership role, whether is a functionary at a meeting or the president of the club. The important thing is that we come together in mutual support for no one else&apos;s benefit but each others.
Be the leader your dog thinks you are
Be the leader your dog thinks you are
Victor Gonzalez, DTM