Friday, July 9, 2010

Leadership, winter, rain, and puppies!

Those of us living in Sydney know that lately we've had some pretty cold and miserable weather. Yesterday I had to go to Hornsby to do some shopping (not my favourite past time!). The shopping centre was pretty full (school holidays and all) and the retailers should have been very happy with the floor traffic.

I'm a "people watcher" and I decided that having a cup of coffee was a good idea. (Those who know me are very aware that I can almost always find any excuse for a cup of coffee!) I chose a coffee shop quite close to a pet store. Now I don't really like pet stores both because so many of them sell animals bred in "puppy farms" and the like and also because the very presence of pet stores can encourage emotional responses that result in many people buying puppies, kittens, or other pets that they don't really want and that may later be abandoned or abused. However this time I noticed that the pet store was having an interesting and positive effect on shoppers.

From where I sat I could see people coming down the mall from near the car park and most seemed to look quite dismal and disgruntled. Perhaps it was the time of the year and the rain, but people looked grumpy and anxious. Even infants and young children seemed subdued and a bit sullen.

I noticed that almost everyone seemed to head for the pet shop. Even if they were on the other side of the mall most people seemed to cross over to look at the animals as they passed. Behind the glass the puppies were playing in the shredded paper that lined their cages. the puppies were full of the joy of being alive. They were being, well, puppies!

And the effect on the shoppers was instant. Almost without exception, after watching the puppies for a few seconds, people moved on with a lighter step and a smile on their face. Whatever concerns people may have had, for a few moments these were dispelled as the puppies brought some light and sunshine.

It made me think.

As leaders what are we doing to bring some light and sunshine into the lives of those we lead? Part of our role is to inspire.

Perhaps there's a leadership lesson from puppies.

I'd like to know what you think of this. Please make your comment below.

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