Leaders aren’t made on an organizational chart. Wearing an “I’m the Boss” T-shirt doesn’t make you one, either. Unless you walk the leadership walk, any claim to status is just talk. If you are searching for ways to get more respect and cooperation from your staff or subordinates at work (or your kids, for that matter,) you need look no further than Nature’s model of leadership: the Alpha Dog, Boss Cow or Lead Horse.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that a job title and true leadership are very different things. The first is just a label, like “Boss”, “General Manager” or “Mom.” Leadership, on the other hand, is the ability to direct, inspire and motivate others to do what you wish or direct, regardless of their objections. Nature’s animal leaders have perfected this to skilled perfection, mostly because they’ve kept it simple. Dogs, cows, horses and other social mammals have never needed an MBA to know how to lead. They’ve just held fast to the following 10 rules:
- They stay calm and laser-focused on the message at hand
- They don’t over-react or get emotional
- They believe in their authority and act with dignity and confidence
- They make rules that are clear and consistent
- They are not afraid to consequence for broken rules
- They enforce their rules without anger or apology
- They don’t beat around the bush
- They don’t fidget or act uncertain
- They look subordinates in the eye
- Their goal is to be friendly, not “be friends” with their subordinates
Yes, true leadership and getting what you want from subordinates is about motivation and reward, but equally important is making rules and enforcing them in a fair and friendly manner. Getting angry, being afraid of offending an errant staff member or fear of losing the love of a child, avoiding difficult conversations, or letting friendship get in the way of discipline are just a few of the ways we frequently sabotage our power as leaders.
Work on these 10 Rules of Leadership — Animal-Style, and watch what happens. A great weight could be lifted. You will sort out the good employees from the bad, long-festering issues will finally be addressed and most importantly, you will begin to be admired as a leader, not dismissed as a doormat. Rules, properly enforced, are a good thing!
“Don’t get angry; get control.” Bessy the Cow approved this message.