Business Magazine

How to Get People (or Puppies) to Follow You

By Stacylrust
“Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.”
-Harold S. Geneen

I am the owner of a 6 month old black lab named Charlie. And if you’ve ever tried to walk a 6 month old lab puppy, you will know that it’s not always easy. They tend to go where their heart takes them.

Everything interests Charlie.

The state of excitement that overcomes him when he sees a rock on the sidewalk or a wrapper on the floor is difficult to even describe. It’s as if that rock or wrapper is the be all and end all of his very existence. (If you ever need a lesson in appreciating the little things in life- I would suggest getting a puppy)

In the past few months, when Charlie must make a decision to follow me, or get the rock, the rock typically wins. So, every walk we go on consists of traveling from rock to rock, reveling in the wonder of each.

Another thing I must mention is that Charlie and I live in Minnesota. So during the past few months of winter, it has often been the case that spending hours outside searching for rocks is not in our best interest.

Charlie and I are at the point now where we are about equal in strength- I am no longer able to tug his leash and get him to go in the direction I want. I have to be more strategic. I have to make him want to follow me.

After reading Cesar Millan’s book “Cesar’s Rules” and being an avid follower of “The Dog Whisperer”, I learned a few valuable things about dogs. They are pack animals. It is in their very nature to follow their pack. Who becomes the pack leader? The dog who is the strongest and most confident. If the pack leader looses his cool for even one second, another dog will take over and lead the way.

By begging Charlie to “come”, I was communicating to him that I needed his permission to move forward. I was waiting for him. I was following him. He was calling the shots. He was the pack leader.

What I needed to do was establish myself as the pack leader.

Cesar tells his readers to take on the demeanor of Oprah- positive and assertive. Walk with purpose and direction, with your head up, chest out, and your shoulders back. Make sure everyone around you can feel your strength. Dogs don’t understand words, what they understand is energy.

So, on one very snowy and cold Minnesota evening, I tried Cesar’s idea.

Charlie was very interested in picking the pine needles off an evergreen tree and had no interest going back inside to the warmth. So instead of pleading with him to “come”, I simply marched straight to the door without looking back.

Instantly, Charlie was at my side anxious to follow me wherever I was going because my demeanor exuded confidence. He could trust me because I knew where I was going. He acknowledged me as the pack leader, and was naturally inclined to follow me. It was as easy as that. A simple shift in energy made all the difference in the world.

This phenomenon works with people too.

When you radiate a positive sense of confidence and direction, people will be naturally inclined to follow you. They trust you, you become a beacon of security, and people will find comfort in that. They will want to go where you are going.

In life or in business, when you want people to follow you, stop trying to “convince” them, stop hesitating, and stop waiting on them. Remember: Oprah doesn’t beg people to follow her, they just do. Simply walk in your own direction with confidence and strength and you will be surprised who you will find running to catch up.


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