“When a dog makes a mistake, I don’t get rid of him.”

A client remarked the other day about how this blog has made her think about her own dog and the correlation to the interactions she has with the employees at her company. “When my dog makes a mistake, I don’t get rid of him,” she said. “Instead, I try to find ways to avoid the mistake in the future, or I just say to myself: ‘well I don’t like that he dumps over the trash every once in a while, but overall he’s a good dog and I can live with [the trash dumping].’”

When I was telling my husband this story, he reminded me of a different situation we had recently heard about a dog owner that gave up her dog because it shed too much. Shed too much??? Dogs shed. Granted, some shed more than others, but you’ll always have some hair and dirt to content with. Shouldn’t you understand that before you make the decision to invite him as a member to the family?

Gaining access to all those wonderful smells in a kitchen trash can is a natural thing for a dog to do, just like some people have a natural inclination to do some things that we ourselves wouldn’t want to do. When you hire or manage an employee in your organization, how much tolerance do you have when they do something that doesn’t meet your expectations? Do you make efforts to give her the support she needs? Or perhaps direct her into a role that better suits her strengths? There is an appropriate time to mutually decide when an employee may not be a good fit for the position or the organization, but it’s always best to make sure other options are explored.

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4 comments

  1. Nancy says:

    I love what you and Grace are teaching. Just like dogs, we humans need proper training to perform at our best in our jobs. Many times, employees walk into a job without being oriented to their positions and the performance expectations. It is helpful when we are all given clear directions. It is worth the time and the effort and reduces the frustration.
    Thank you, Robin.

    • Nancy, great point that it’s so important for us to be clear about our expectations. Without that awareness, we could be doing something unintentionally that is frustrating to the other person. It’s very natural and common for us to make an assumption that the other person “should know” what to do, but it’s a great practice to check and double-check for a clear and consistent message. As you note, it is definitely worth the time and effort. Thank you so much for offering your thoughts and contributing to the conversation!

  2. didiwright says:

    First of all, Robin, thanks for finding my blog so that I can find yours. I absolutely love the title – ‘Grace-ful’ is pure genius! – and original slant you’re giving your blog. I never thought of owning a dog as training for social interaction, but now it makes perfect sense.
    The title of this post should appear on one of those stickers that we put on the back window of our car, or at least on an office wall.
    I love the paragraph about the ‘wonderful smell’ coming from the kitchen bin. That explains why we couldn’t keep George out of it when he was a puppy. He still visits it now, but not as often 🙂
    As for that woman getting rid of her dog because it shed, I don’t think I can add anything to what you said. I’m completely with you on this. Unfortunately, people get rid of their pets too often for very silly reasons, forgetting that animals are living creatures with feelings. I don’t know how they can do it, we don’t even leave George with family and take him with us everywhere.
    I’m off to read your other posts 🙂

    • I like the sticker idea on the office wall! For the most part, all of know how to interact perfectly fine at any given time, but we forget in the heat of the moment when something distracts us or entices a bit too much. Just like the aromatic smells of a trash can for a dog, people often let their most natural tendencies take over. Having some kind of reminder, like a sticker, is a great way to reinforce our best behavior. Thanks for adding to the converstion!

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