What Dogs Taught Me about Teamwork and Success
Do you ever wonder what dogs are thinking about? Maybe you’ve even put words in their mouths just based on the look they’re giving you. Admit it, you have. And why not? Dogs have given us a world in which to play and get creative. And through all the training and late night barking, have given us a lot of laughs along the way. Under all of their expressions are true friends who share our need to be appreciated. So how can you take that exercise into work? Recently our company president provided his blueprint for FY2017 and integral to the plan was a focus on corporate culture. How nice that our president, a thought leader, wants to pay that forward! One area he honed in on was to be appreciative of one another. He went on to describe this as the feeling we get when you are respected, admired, and treated well. This recognition taps into the neurostimulators in our brain, namely serotonin, which is regarded as one chemical responsible for maintaining mood balance.
So what do dogs have to do with this? Well, just think next time when you have a conflict at work, how can you defuse it most effectively and show your best leadership side? Think about how much your dog is appreciated by you—you reward them with treats when they are “good,” you offer praise and acknowledgement, and you are in tuned with their needs and you show your care by how well you take care of them. And you teach and retrain with patience, when necessary. Dogs can teach us that listening and teamwork are essential keys for success.
According to an article from Psychology Today, entitled “Why are humans and dogs so good at living together?”, the social adaptations and behaviors of dogs and humans are so similar that we can live surrounded by one another. The article makes some great points about how we see them not as “aliens” but rather as a member of the family. What makes a dog a valued family member? Award winning author Larry Kay writes, “Dogs show high levels of empathy, compassion, care and trust.”  They are attentive, intuitive, attuned to our emotional state, and are protectors and playmates.
So back to the work question: when a conflict arises in the office, think about your dog. They might sit down (literally!) and think about their being at an impasse– but would they do this?
A better option for you and them would be this, right? Teamwork, working together to get the goods!
Sitting down to think about the problem works, but only when you consider what the other person is trying to achieve. Unlike a dog where we have no option to ask them what they are thinking when they look at us the way they do, humans can talk! So sitting down and asking thoughtful questions and working together to resolve your difference creates the serotonin difference! A big Blue Ribbon for the Team!
For additional insights on teamwork, download our free eBook: Teams and Teamwork: Getting a GRIP on Your Team