What My Puppy is Teaching Me about Leadership (Part 3)


This is my last of three blogs on what Ruby Tuesday (my puppy) has been teaching me. She just turned 6 months old and I believe continues to teach me more than I am teaching her. For me, especially patience! In my previous blogs (part 1 and part 2), I talked about what she is teaching/reminding me about leadership including:

  • Reward and acknowledge good behavior
  • Be consistent
  • Be patient
  • Be fully present
  • Be clear--do not cause confusion in the instructions you give
  • Do not overreact

Here are a few more learnings she has gifted me:

  1. Notice your tone when communicating and use your voice for impact. I know that you are not to use your puppy’s name as a command, but she is picking up the difference when I say her name when I’m pleased and when I say her name when she has done something not so pleasing, which happens more frequently than I’d like. I see how this change of voice has an impact on her. One she excitedly comes to me and the other she keeps a distance.

I believe our voices are powerful and the more we realize the impact the tone of our voice can have regardless of the words, the more impactful we are when we use our voices wisely. 

  1. Listen for what’s not being said. This may sound odd in the context of communicating with a puppy, but paying attention to what’s not being said is critical as there is no common language Ruby and I can communicate with. We try to read each other’s body and the energy our bodies put forth. I like to believe we are getting very good at this.

As leaders, we need to pay careful attention when someone’s body/energy is not in alignment with their words and recognize this and be curious about it. What’s not being said can be more important than what is being said.

  1. And finally, above all else, open your heart and show your gratitude. This goes beyond my very first point, which was, recognize and acknowledge good behavior. This is about being grateful to that other person for who they are. It’s not about their doing. This is about their being the best they can be to achieve mutual goals.

And, above all else, I have opened my heart and am so very grateful this little 6-month-old being is in my life to remind me of all these leadership lessons.


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