It is often said that owners resemble their dogs so being handsome, incredibly good natured and someone who likes their food, it will come as no surprise to you to learn that my wife and I have been the proud owners of an equally handsome and good natured Labrador. This train of thought left me wondering what breed of dog I would choose if I had a canine boss.
I’ve decided that it depends at what level of the organisation one is considering but at the lower to middle management level, managers that display Labrador characteristics would be a decided asset. Is your boss enthusiastic? Can you trust your boss and does your boss trust you? If you had to dig a hole, would your boss stand around and watch or would he or she help with the digging? Does your boss appreciate what you do and offer praise when deserved? Does your boss take the time to keep you “in” on things or does he or she just issue instructions on a need to know basis? If I had a boss that displayed all of these characteristics, I might even overlook the lick when I arrived for work each morning.
But I don’t see a Labrador as a top executive – developing the strategy, taking the hard decisions – they are just too laid back. They would want to avoid conflict; they wouldn’t want to upset anyone. No – a top dog would be a Collie or a German Shepherd – highly intelligent, courageous, never satisfied with the status quo – always seeking a better way. They are masters of organisational alignment – they instinctively know how to get everyone in the organisation moving in the same direction and are quite prepared to nip the heels of those who get out of line.
In the 20th century the top dog might have been a St Bernard, a member of the old boy network, spending too much time at the club with a brandy at hand.
So how would you characterise your boss – as a Labrador or a collie or a German Shepherd? Or does your boss display the traits of a Rottweiler, or a miniature poodle or an American Pit Bull terrier? Does your boss yap at the slightest provocation or growl at you after the slightest of misdemeanours?
Now I’m going to suggest a radical alternative to all Gen Y’s who spend every coffee and lunch break silently engrossed in their smart phones. How about having a conversation? The topic is – if my boss were a dog, what breed would he or she be?