Canine Tutorial on Managing People

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My dog Lady is beautiful, stubborn, and strong-willed. I’ll own those last qualities myself, plus a little arrogance. I was sure I could “fix” her bad behavior… Ha!

It took a professional dog trainer to teach me how to speak her language and learn to communicate effectively. This came after 7 years of doing most things wrong. She was so aggressive with other dogs that we’d both be nervous wrecks after our walks. I didn’t understand how my anxiety triggered her anxiety until I worked with the dog trainer. To make things worse, I was not aware of how much I took her behavior personally and made up all kinds of stories about how belligerent she was, how she didn’t care, that she didn’t respect me. That last part was true, but not for the reasons I thought.

What does this have to do with managing and communicating with people? A lot! How many times are people promoted into management with zero training in the language of managing, motivating, and delegating? Or worse, some managers – like I was as a dog owner- manage poorly for years without feedback, training, or support on how to be more effective. Their direct reports suffer the consequences of an ineffective leader and as a result, many of the best ones move on.

What were the results of the right training for Lady and me? The change looked miraculous. I learned how to speak HER language, how to CALMLY assert control, how to de-sensitize her, how to demonstrate the BEHAVIOR of being the Alpha. You can’t fake that. They know. We practiced a lot. She was like a “new dog.”Hmmm. Who had to change first?

We became partners. She now knows what I want and wants to please me. We are both calmer. I stopped telling myself stories about her behavior.I now know how to communicate in a way she understands. Life is a LOT easier for both of us.

I needed to learn how to see things from Lady’s point of view and adapt accordingly. Effective managers of people must learn see things from the employee’s point of view and adapt to their needs to maximize performance. Is your firm expecting new managers to automatically have the skills of managing, delegating, and motivating people of different generations with various communication styles? Or perhaps you have managers who are weak communicators because they have never learned how to manage effectively. If so, you likely have employees who are not nearly as engaged and productive as they need to be.

Take the next step! Find the best support and training for developing your managers. Gallup reports that 70% of employee engagement is related to the manager. In today’s demanding environment, action is crucial to maximizing results.

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