This is a guest post by Krissi Barr, co-author of The Fido Factor: How to Get a Leg Up at Work.
Leadership is often the biggest differentiator when it comes to career success. Without it, employees can almost never succeed as managers. With it, almost anything is possible.
Dogs have a natural genius for leadership. We arrived at this conclusion after years of painstaking research, including hours of ear scratching, playing fetch,, and watching Animal Planet. More importantly, we studied canine behaviors and drilled down to the key lessons that help employees demonstrate the leadership and management skills needed to get that promotion to a managerial role.
The leadership traits dogs embody can be boiled down to four “ themes: faithful, inspirational, determined and observant (FIDO).
Form a bond with a dog and you’ll have a faithful friend forever. Faithfulness is a quality bosses cherish.
When you are regarded as faithful it means you’ve earned trust from your teammates and customers. Employees get management opportunities because they’ve earned trust by doing the right things and living up to their word.
How can you show you will be a faithful leader? Here are three ideas:
- Tell your teammates what you are going to do and then do it.
- Offer to help anyone on your team on any project at any time. Then pitch in as soon as you see they need assistance.
- Find ways to show your customers their satisfaction is your priority. And if something isn’t right, personally fix it ASAP.
Dogs make us feel good, lift our spirits and energize us to our very core. To maximize your leadership role – and get the promotion you desire – you have to inspire greatness in others by getting them to believe they can do what they thought was impossible.
Inspiration moves people to do the meaningful and extraordinary. As a leader you will need to have and articulate a compelling vision that matters to your team and your customers. That means you will need to be close enough to them to know what is going to resonate.
How can an employee demonstrate the ability to inspire others? Here are two ideas:
- Attitude is infectious, so show your positive, can-do mindset to everyone you meet.
- In team meetings and communication, focus on “What’s in it for us!” by highlighting the bigger success that teamwork creates.
Combine a sharp focus with a never-give-up mentality and you either get a dog or successful and promoateable. Leaders know they need a team that’s fiercely unwavering to succeed, which is why your supervisors are looking for that dogged determination in you.
How can you improve your determination quotient and move up the ladder faster? Here are three ideas:
- Resolve to avoid distractions (like social media) and say “no” to non-essential activities (like a long lunch with your friends).
- Prioritize everything you do – particularly when a crisis hits – so the things that matter most get done.
- Finish what you start. Don’t let items linger on your to-do list.
Dogs are observant, constantly searching for more information. They use all their senses: watching, sniffing, and listening for meaning. Then they act.
In a world where information is plentiful and fast changing, only those leaders who are dedicated to soaking it all in and assimilating it into a cohesive strategy will prevail.
Observant leaders spot problems before they become serious issues and identify opportunities before their competitors do. They pick up on the little things. They are committed to taking in as much information as possible to make the best decisions.
How can you demonstrate you will be an observant leader? Here are three ideas:
- Read everything you can about your company, your customers and your competitors. Knowledge is power, so resolve to know more.
- Become a better listener by repeating key phrases the speaker said in your mind and asking questions like “And then what happened?” and “Tell me more.”
- When your instinct tells you something doesn’t smell right, act on it.
These traits — are crucial to every businessperson who wants to achieve his or her greatest potential.
Becoming a leader isn’t easy. You’ll have to work hard. If you focus on FIDO , you’ll be considered for that promotion in no time.
About the guest post author:
Krissi Barr is CEO of Barr Corporate Success, consultants specializing in strategic planning, executive coaching, and behavioral assessments, and the co-author of The Fido Factor: How to Get a Leg Up at Work.