She’s beautiful. About 12 years old, she’s part Lab, Dalmation and Whippet. And since I’ve come back from being away for almost three weeks, she’s become my shadow. Dundas (we didn’t name her) is actually the 2AM boy’s dog – but for some reason she’s become stuck on me (my magnetic personality perhaps). But this post isn’t really about her, it’s a just a hook to talk about this post in BusinessWeek:
Ready for A Dog’s Life?
Sit, roll over and beg are not the average words we read in Leadership books, but they do seem to be words that are a little too common in the repetoire of some leaders – especially when they are looking for new employees. Business Week’s Liz Ryan comments:
SIT AND STAY. Dogs, being smarter than some humans, understand what I mean. In any canine interaction, it’s obvious within milliseconds which is the top dog. Pet owners talk about dominant and submissive behaviors. Humans display those, too, but we don’t recognize them, all the time, for what they are.
In the experience I just described, the company approached me in the Alpha Dog posture (tail and head high, hair on the back of their necks standing up) and expected me to roll onto my back. No dice. How many times have all of us, as job candidates, cooled our heels in office lobbies waiting for an interviewer, or waited three weeks past the date when a post-interview phone was promised us?
Companies who live in Alpha Dog mode are guaranteed of one thing: the people they hire will not be top dogs in their industries, because they’re required to show submissive behavior just to get in the door.
SNIFF AROUND. When will companies learn that a little humility will pay off in the form of smarter, more confident team members, and everything that comes with that, including better ideas and higher margins? Why do business leaders and human resources people continue to delude themselves into the idea that demanding: "Please grovel upon entering the building" somehow glorifies them?
It’s an obvious trade-off: I’ll gratify my ego by treating job candidates like cattle, and in return give up the chance to hire the best and brightest people available, who’ll find opportunities elsewhere. But ego is a powerful thing. People will make bad decisions to enjoy a little ego gratification surprisingly often.