HR Strange But True!
September 20, 2007

Want to unleash the answers to all your pesky issues and problems at work? Just observe your dog and mimic its behavior, says a new business book. Your dog's "advice" may even help you make more money!

In their forthcoming tome, Why Dogs Wag Their Tails: Lessons Leaders Can Learn About Work, Joy, and Life (W Business Books/New Win Publishing), due out in December, authors and executive leadership coaches Sherri McArdle and Jim Ramerman say that imitating a dog's "instinctive approach to life" can help with leadership, conflict management, and human relations issues and put joy and fulfillment in your job.

Ramerman, who has studied the leadership styles of Napoleon, Wellington , and Machiavelli in his graduate work, believes that innovation is key to successful management. He has been a dog lover from childhood. When he bonded with Terra, his beloved golden retriever, he began to perceive how his relationship with Terra could be transferred to innovative practices for the workplace.

McArdle became a dog-owner for the first time as an adult. Since then, she has learned how to deal with Scout, her bichon frise, the same way many adults approach any new relationship, such as with a new boss--analytically.

The duo used these "dog-based" concepts in their leadership presentations and were surprised with the amount of feedback they received from other canine owners about they transferred their own experiences with pets to the workplace. This was the basis for the book.

Told through 20 narratives that show dogs "finding clarity," achieving goals, earning credibility, and facing leadership decisions, the authors maintain that people can apply these "insights" of canines make meaningful and lasting changes that will insure success in both business and life, says McArdle, co-CEO of McArdle Ramerman, Inc., a results-oriented leadership development firm.

An important theme in the book is how a dog's relationship with its owner is like an employee's relationship with his or her boss. Both didn't "choose" their "master," and both critical relationships are based on "power." Dogs run away, and employees quit their jobs because of bosses.

A successful dog/master relationship is totally based on trust--mutual trust--say the authors. Dogs approach this relationship with "clarity, credibility, and an encouraging presence," says McArdle. Workplace leaders can take the essential qualities of the dog/owner relationship, such as openness, celebration, and responsiveness, and learn to cultivate them in their relationships with employees, according to the book.

So you may not want to take your dog to work, but you may want to take your relationship with your dog to work.

Sources: and

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