Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Lead Dog - an old dog's view

As the lead dog, you must work the hardest. The house dogs think that the lead position is the easiest—that the traces in the rear must be the tautest while the lead dog needs only to “guide” the team, his harness loose and comfortable. This might work on a clear day over an easy trail, but not when the job is tough. Recall your days in the back, when every ounce of strength from the whole team was needed. A slacker is a liability; a leader who is a slacker could be a calamity.

As the lead dog, you must be the disciplinarian, even sometimes during the run—but the best time is later, away from the team. Remember that your goal is to improve behavior; a chastened dog will pull hard to regain his spot on the team, but a humiliated dog is ruined forever. Before you growl at the errant one, look first to yourself. Did you train the offender properly? Did you provide the right equipment? Almost all of us will pull ’til our hearts burst; if one does not, then it is more often the fault of training or equipment rather than attitude. But discipline when you must; no one else will do it because it is your job.

The character you build as a follower is the one that comes through as a leader when the trail is icy, the wind is brutal, and the sled is top-heavy. It is no time to be a loner, or sloppy, or shortsighted. Take heart from my experience: a leader can build character in the team. He or she need only show its members the benefits of hard work, courage, selflessness, devotion, and excellence, and to these things they will respond with their whole hearts.

Leadership: An Old Dog's View
C. R. Anderegg (Colonel, USAF - retired)
Good stuff.  You can read it all HERE.

1 comment:

General Quarters said...

As they say, "If you ain't the lead dog..."