What a Running Cat Just Taught Me About Leadership

A few ago I was at the parking lot (very good places to learn something I must say) with our dog when suddenly a cat run to a nearby bush. Naturally our vicous bloodhound (picture on that page) immediately run after the cat.

In less than a second I said “No!” and our nice dog stopped and came back. She shouldn’t run towards cat like that.

Then I continued to lock my car and went back to our apartment.

After the incident I realized how I just had made mistake. I was saying “no” when the dog was doing bad things (chasing the cat) which was okay, but where was the reward after the dog did well (stopped when told, and came back by my side)? Nowhere.

It’s easy to blame and think about the things others shouldn’t do, but the real focus should be on the things that were done right and well – and reward them.

When was the last time you told people about work done poorly?

And when was the last time you pointed out something good?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. Good point. A job done well should also be pointed out.

    Of course, you could push this whole point a step further by realizing that it is in a dog’s nature to chase the cat. In fact, he probably considers chasing cats to be part of his job within the pack, given that his alpha doesn’t seem to fulfill that particular duty. In that light, his miscalculation was in not checking to see if you wanted to opt for your right to primacy in the realm of cat chasing this time too.

    Often, such “bad” behaviors among people are exhibited for similar reasons–instinctual perception of a lack in their environment. Like dogs, many of us find ourselves at a loss to explain this behavior and are more happy when someone else’s idea proves to be more effective.

    I find it helpful to abolish the terms “good” and “bad” as they apply to behavior, replacing them instead with “useful” and “non-useful.” I find it’s a useful approach to cutting back on my non-useful judgmental reactions to behavior which is outside my experience and comfort level.

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