Leadership Lessons from your Cat

In honour of International Cat Day on 8 August, I thought I would share some leadership lessons you can learn from your cat.  

1. Be curious

Being curious about your business will help you to discover new ideas and new ways of doing things.  You are going beyond the routine and what has been done before.  Take a leap and try something new or look at something old with fresh eyes.  Be a cat, consider the issue with all your senses – sight, sound, smell, hearing and touch.

2. Focus 

Have you ever seen a cat chasing and hunting?  They are totally focussed, concentrating on their toy.  As a leader, you should be clear with staff and clients about your business goals and your business priorities – talk and engage with them.  Give time and energy on a key goal and then move on to the next one.  When talking to staff: fully focus, fully listen, be 100 percent present and engaged in the conversation.

3. Be Flexible

Have you seen the poses a cat can do effortlessly?  They can stretch and curl up in the narrowest of spaces. Draw inspiration from you cat and promote flexibility and adaptability in the workplace.  Stuff happens and circumstances change.  As a business and as a leader you need to respond, often quickly. 

4. Show gratitude

No, you do not need to purr.  Recognise and thank your staff for a job well done.  Thank them for their contribution.  When something does not go well, pause first.  Consider, not criticise.  Get and give constructive feedback so that the business can move forward positively. 

5. Be fearless, live like you are on your ninth life 

Life and business can be full of risks.  You cannot remove them all.  And sometimes risks are the opportunity that you need to learn and grow.  When you next do your business planning, be prepared to take some risks if they help you get the results you want.  You may not fall and land on your feet (ala, the cat).  But with good planning and risk management, you may jump higher than you have ever done.  Maximise the opportunity and minimise the challenges.  

6. Be yourself – don’t be a copycat

There are some great and not so great leaders out in the world.  You can learn from both.  Then, bring all these lessons together in your style, the one that works for you.  

7. Have Fun 

No matter how hectic your schedule, make some time to have fun and relax.  Work-life balance may be a favourite buzz word, but it has a point.  Giving yourself time away from work refreshes your body and mind.  Set the example for your staff and you will have a positive and energised business.

PS: More Information about International Cat Day can be found at https://www.ifaw.org/au

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