Five Unforgettable Ways to Relate to Others

Have you ever noticed that a puppy can relate to just about anyone? Puppies may be awkward and impulsive, but put a puppy in a crowd of even the most sophisticated people and their inner child will emerge faster than you can say woof!

Every leader could learn a thing or two about relating to people from those adorable creatures. Here are five unforgettable ways that puppies put people at ease—and you can too.

Puppies are glad to see you. Relational leadership begins with celebrating people as they are, where they are. When people know that you are more concerned with their presence than their performance, they will follow you anywhere.

Puppies don’t have hidden agendas. With a puppy, what you see is what you get. The wag of the tail, the sloppy kiss, the jumping up to greet you—that’s all genuine. If you want to truly relate to others, forget what they can do for you and think about what you can do for them.

Puppies aren’t impressed with your credentials. Puppies don’t know whether you’re a champ or a chump—only whether you’re safe to be around. Relational leaders don’t play favorites. They treat everyone the same, and always make a safe space for newcomers.

Puppies are loyal. Puppies don’t practice conditional loyalty; they love you no matter what. If you want to relate to people, they must know that you are unconditionally loyal—that you’ll be the first in and the last out in times of adversity.

Puppies are enthusiastic. Everything a puppy does is done with plenty of pep and a little bounce. That’s one of the things that draws people to them. Enthusiasm is a great motivator! Be enthusiastic about what you’re doing, and see how quickly people catch the spirit.

Sure, puppies can be a little headstrong and hard to reign in, but so can a good leader at times. Approach people with the same eager, open attitude that a puppy displays, and your team will thrive.

What about you? What leadership lessons could you add from the canine kingdom?