Last year in Sweden, Dr. Misner and his wife had the opportunity to take a dog sled excursion. While waiting to start, all of the dogs on the team barked, leaped up, and strained at their harnesses–except for the lead pair of dogs. The lead dogs sat quietly and watched for the signal to start. And when the lead dogs stood up and prepared to respond to the mushers’ signal to run, the rest of the dogs settled down and pulled in the same direction.
It struck Dr. Misner that this was a great metaphor for leadership in general. The lead pair of dogs in each team had a single-minded focus, ignoring the chaos around them. In business, people often get excited, they strain and pull and agitate for immediate action, but a good leader remains alert and attentive without overreacting, and waits for the right time to move. They remain steady and calm, and their teams pull in the same direction when they give the signal.
Post your experiences with great–and not so great–leaders in the comments.
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