Pack Leadership: Batting Clean Up

Posted on October 5, 2009


Kai, flat-coat/chow mix, and Rustle, miniature poodle

Kai, flat-coat/chow mix, and Rustle, miniature poodle

The other afternoon, my wife came home with a big bag of dog food. I went outside to bring it in for her. I’m not bragging or being sexist, I just know she prefers if I carry those. She tried to warn me, but I stepped in dog waste while helping her anyway.

I know that some people let their dogs run around outside, even though it’s illegal. I also know that people walk their dogs and don’t clean up after them – because I glare at them until they’re off my property.

As for me, I’ve got a fanny pack. I know they’ve become crushingly unbecoming and utterly lacking in style. I don’t care. I’m walking my dogs for their health, not to make a fashion statement. My fanny pack is full of plastic bags, so I can clean up after my dogs.

For me, it’s just about being a good neighbor. Other people have to walk the same trails and parks that I use. Kids play there. I don’t want anybody getting sick, or just dirty, because of me. Especially not when it’s so easy for me to do something about it.

Of course, it’s also a matter of responsibility. If I wasn’t willing to take that responsibility, I wouldn’t own dogs. That’s not always a matter of rational thought. Sometimes it’s a matter of ignorance. I’ve always cleaned up after my dogs, but I didn’t always walk them. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it made for them. I was ignorant. When I learned, I stepped up and took responsibility.

I realize that lots of managers have no leadership training. It’s not that they’re intentionally irresponsible. Most management training that I’ve seen has to do more with employment law and company practices than leadership. Managers have to learn the hard way that leadership is much more than a job title and bump in pay. There are plenty of perks, but there’s a lot of hard work and, yes, responsibility that goes with it. There are resources out there to help bridge the gap between management training and reality. God knows enough of us have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those veterans are happy to share what their leadership training.

If only it was as easy to get people to clean up after their dogs.