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By Darryl Stewart

Good managers act more like dogs than cats.

This point was made very clear to me by leadership guru Linton Sellen this week over breakfast.

Linton had a great way of explaining this idea.

A dog gets a home with good food, a warm bed, people who scratch him in all the right places and lots of love and affection.  He thinks, “I love this place. I am going to be loyal to my master and do anything she asks me to.”

A cat gets a home with good food, a warm bed, people who scratch him in all the right places and lots of love and affection.  He thinks, “I must be really awesome, look at her treating me like a king, I think I will hang ‘till something better comes along.”

All managers see people being deferential to them.  Great managers know that this is not because they are awesome, but simply because of the authority that comes with being an official manager or supervisor.

kitten with dog
Mostly dog, but a little bit of cat doesn’t hurt either!
Photo by Prskavka.

Great managers don’t abuse that authority; they never kid themselves that someone is willing to meet them for a drink after work just because they are awesome.  The manager knows that the employee is deferential to them because they are that employee’s boss.  Likely that drink should never even happen.  They know it is not their charm, wit and managerial excellence that get people doing things, but their power and authority.

Great managers take the pedestal that comes with a formal position and act like the proverbial dog.  They work hard to serve and build loyalty with the people they have authority over.

Where the analogy breaks of course is that the dog has to get things done by leading the team to complete tasks on time and according to plan.  Great managers take all the best attributes of the dog and then add in some of the goal orientation and a little bit of the aloofness of the cat.

This youtube video points out a little more on the difference between cats and dogs.  I found it hilarious.  Enjoy!

IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant. 

Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.