What’s Dog Poop Got to Do with Leadership?

We’ve all observed the behaviors of dog owners. If you live in an urban or suburban area, you know the rules; if you walk your dog, you are expected to pick up your dog’s poop. From my home, I have a great view of a stretch of grass that is a favored peeing and pooping place for neighborhood dogs. This vantage point lets me observe how dog owners behave.

  1. Responsible Owners – They dutifully pick up and dispose of the little plastic bag of doggy doo in the conveniently placed containers. I’ve observed responsible owners put the small bag in a conspicuous place so they can pick it up when they return from their walk/run.
  2. Avoidance Owners – These dog owners “go off the beaten path” and let their dogs do their duty. They assume that no one else will be walking or playing there, so no harm, no foul.
  3. Irresponsible Owners – They are too lazy, but they often look around to see if anyone is watching and ignore the poop deposited by their pet, thinking, “Not my problem, someone else will pick it up.”

So what’s this got to do with Leadership?

Isn’t this a metaphor for the behaviors that make a person a good or bad leader? 

Irresponsible Owners 

Have you had a boss that took the position, “Maybe no one will know I did that,” and ignored the fact they were at least partially involved in the problem? Or maybe, even though they were somewhat responsible for the problem, they expected others to fix it for them without ever admitting to their mistake.

Avoidance Owners

These leaders do everything they can to avoid taking responsibility or ownership. Instead, they will look the other way or seek a safe way to avoid doing what needs to be done.

Responsible Owners

This person is the manager everyone wants. They know they will do what’s hard and make the right decisions most often. They never expect others to take the blame for their mistakes or avoid their responsibilities. Instead, they can trust them to do the right thing for their staff and the company.

By observing the actions and behaviors of people, you can tell what kind of leaders they are. What kind of leader do you want to be?

About Rich Jones

Strategic consultant and Keynote Speaker, Rich brings a deep experience in the disciplines of Strategic Planning, Marketing, Business Development, Digital Transformation, Data Utilization, Leadership Development and Cultural Alignment. A husband, father, runner, cyclist, beer drinker with a passion for life.

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