Leadership Lessons from Dogs (And Why You Should Listen To Their Barks)

Leadership and Dogs

I’m sure you know this, but most dogs aren’t too happy about visiting the vet. This is likely related to the way they get their temperature taken. Nevertheless, you and your amazing teams help them live longer, heathier lives. So now they want to give back for all you’ve done.

It may come as a surprise that you can dramatically improve your leadership quotient by taking some lessons from dogs. They’re leadership geniuses, after all.

One of the most important aspects in life and business is leadership. With great leadership almost anything is possible. Without leadership, everything is more difficult.

As it turns out, dogs are masters of four key areas that have a powerful impact on you and your team’s ability to exhibit leadership:


Faithful leaders earn the trust of their team and their customers by doing the right things and living up to their word. They display their “I’ve got your tail” mentality when they defend their pack. They wear their positive emotions on their collars to build trust and let their loyalty flag fly high.


Inspirational leaders move people to do the meaningful and the extraordinary. They inspire greatness in others by getting them to believe they can do what they thought was impossible. They know the importance of attitude, which is why they put their paws into everything they do with an unbridled positive spirit. They wag their tails often and publicly, encouraging their teammates to become best in show.


Determined leaders combine perseverance with a dose of fearlessness to keep moving toward goals. Combine a sharp focus with a never-give-up mentality and you get an unstoppable leader of the pack. Sometimes it requires sheer will, and sometimes more hard work, but determination is what gives leaders the extra grit and fortitude to see things through to success. Kind of like how a dog claws their way into the cupboard where the snacks are kept.


Observant leaders are committed to taking in as much information as possible in order to make the best decisions. In a world where information is plentiful and fast changing, only those leaders who are dedicated to soaking it all in and assimilating it into a cohesive strategy will prevail. Observant leaders (and dogs) are just as curious about what they are seeing, hearing, and feeling as what they are not sensing. They notice the little things, and that can make all the difference.

These dog-inspired leadership traits spell “FIDO,” and are the underpinning for how great leaders should behave. Ignore them and you may end up wearing the cone of shame.

The Fido Factor

So the next time you come face to muzzle with a dog, take a moment to thank them for inspiring you to be the best leader you can be. Then take their temperature and try to figure out why they keep eating socks.

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Krissi Barr is CEO of Barr Corporate Success and co-author of The Fido Factor, a leadership book on the lessons learned from dogs. Her Cincinnati-based consulting company focuses on strategic planning, executive coaching, assessments, and public speaking. The Fido Factor is a fresh take on leadership that’s as powerful and practical as it is approachable and relatable. A quick read that’s sprinkled with humor, The Fido Factor is the perfect tool to help you — and your entire team — get a leg up at work.

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