Leader of the Pack

By Jim Whitt

If you’ve ever watched Cesar Millan’s TV show, The Dog Whisperer, you’ve seen some amazing transformations take place with dogs and their owners.  I’ve been reading his book, Be the Pack Leader: Use Cesar’s Way to Transform Your Dog and Your Life, and find many of Cesar’s canine principles apply to human behavior. For example, here’s a sad but true observation: “Humans are the only species that will follow a totally unbalanced, unstable leader.”

Our species can learn a lot about leadership from a dog’s point of view. Cesar says the “alpha” dog is no more important than the other dogs in the pack. “In charge, yes; better, no. Every dog serves a purpose in the pack.” Dogs instinctively understand this. As Cesar says, “They look at the big picture — their own survival and the survival of the group.”

People need to know their purpose and position in the pack (organization). Leaders need to make sure each “pack member” is fulfilling his purpose and understands his role. And when members either forget or refuse to accept the authority, responsibilities and boundaries of their roles, it’s the job of the pack leader to put them in their “place.” Failure to do so results in the break down of structure and discipline in the pack. Before long the organization is running wild and it’s every dog for himself.

The success or failure of the organization — or survival of the pack, as Cesar would say — depends on purpose, position, structure and discipline. “It’s not a democracy, but it’s definitely all about the whole being better than the sum of the parts. It’s all about the ‘we.’”

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