Service Dogs For The Blind Teach Managers New Tricks For Leadership

Businessman at a desk with his dog

(Picture Credit: Katrina Huisman/Getty Images)

A new training program proves that dogs, themselves, may be among the best trainers in the world. In fact, they can even train top managers of corporations. Leader Dogs for the Blind has an executive training program that brings soft skills to the forefront of manager training.

The program aims to improve teamwork, communication skills, trust-building capabilities, strategic planning, and problem solving. All of these are geared towards building the participants to become better bosses. Their teachers are guide dogs trained to assist blind people.

As if the tactic of dogs teaching managerial-level people isn’t surprising enough, the managers have to be blindfolded and trust the dogs. The participants need to effectively use communication skills to tell the dogs where to go. They then need to surrender control and trust that their dogs will guide them to where they need to go.

Teaching Them To Take A Leap Of Faith

Giving up some control is quite a big thing for anyone, especially for leaders. Among the more important skills learned is the ability to give that control up and trust that those you direct will be able to do what you ask. In actual application, this is what happens when leaders delegate tasks to their subordinates.

“When you’re in leadership, you want to control things. That took me out of my comfort zone. I had to purely trust the dog,” said Phil Bertolini, a participant in the program.

Giving trust also means letting the dog lead you. Pulling on their leash restricted the dogs and made them less effective in leading. It’s the same lesson with a team; micromanaging will only make them achieve less.

Dog Training Skills Are Great For Managers

People with dog training skills can actually make great waves in the managerial field. That’s because the training used on dogs actually holds good principles for the workplace. This is based on behaviorism,which makes use of learning and rewards.

At the same time, part of dog training is making sure that they are safe with you as they build their trust. This is even more important in the workplace because employees have more needs that have to be fulfilled. By having the foundations built from knowing how to train dogs, you know how to spot the nuances to ensure trust, responsibility, and a safe environment in the workplace.

What do you think of this training program? Do you think leaders have a lot to learn from dogs? Let us know your thoughts below!

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