Positivity and Leadership

The Rupert Group recently expanded by one. No, not another consultant, a Long Coat German Shepherd names Uschi. Uschi means “little she-bear” in German, and the name befits her. She is a smart, sweet dog, and (most people) who come into contact with her are smitten by her.

When you acquire a new dog, training is very essential and we dove headfirst in to it by reading 5 different texts on dog training, specifically German Shepherds. What I have found interesting about this is the interactions that we have had with the dog “experts”. In our case, this would be the breeders and various trainers and even the staff at 3 local pet shops.

What I have experienced is the prevailing notion that we are “wrong”. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. No matter what the issue, or how close or far we actually were to the expert’s opinion, they are very quick to point out how we are materially screwing up our dog. In one case, the expert gave some good advice about consistency and not using the dog’s name when giving a command (in other words, don’t say “Uschi, sit”, just issue the command “sit”…it worked like a charm).

However, when the expert retuned a week later, and I thanked them for the advice, and even demonstrated it for them with the compliant beast, I received no positive feedback. Instead, he focused on (yet another) area where my dog-training skills were lacking.

The upshot of this is that I very quickly began to not care. Oh, I care about my Uschi, and training her correctly, but I no longer care for “expert” dog people’s advice. For me they all start to fall under the umbrella of “me giving you dog advice is just meant for me to feel better about myself by making you feel wrong or bad about what you are doing”. See, training the dog is secondary to them feeling like they are fixing my problem, or adding value, or illuminating a wrong of some sort. Crazy, right?!

No, not crazy, more like very common. We see this same affliction in leaders in business. People who don’t listen very well, and assume they have the right answer to your issue and then shove it at you with no regard to how you feel about it. They too, are more into themselves than their relationship with you.

The funny thing about the dog trainers is that they very rarely are training the dog. They are training the dog-owners to train the dog when the trainers are not present. By breaking the relationship and trust with the owner, they are rendering themselves ineffective at successfully training the dog. In other words, they miss the mark.

Consider your business relationships. Are you fooled into believing you add value to your relationships by pointing out what every one around you is doing wrong, or do you follow the sage advice of “pointing out what is right” with your team. It is true that where you put your attention and focus grows. If you focus on the negative stuff that is doing wrong, you will get more of that. If you focus on the things that people are doing right, well, you will see that grow exponentially as well. The question is what do you want more of: what is wrong, or what is right?

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