My cat, Kipsy, has my respect. In fact, most cats have my respect. There’s a lot we can learn from the feline world that can help us to become better leaders. Here are some of the skills I learned from my cat:
1. My cat has clear boundaries
There are certain times that I can interact with my cat and times when I can’t. These moments are completely determined by her. If she is receptive to cuddles or petting she will purr and rub her face against my ankles to signify it is okay to touch her. If it is not a good time to show affection, she will nip or bat at me to let me know this is her “me” time. There are times in the “people” world where we need to do the same. We have to let others know what our boundaries are so we can learn how to best work with each other. This will ensure we don’t end up pushing each other too far past those boundaries.
2. My cat is self-sufficient
I need not worry about my cat most of the time. She lives by her own clock and routine. I make sure she has fresh food and water and a clean litter box and she fills in the blanks. I’m not taxed with making sure she gets out for a walk and she doesn’t tear the house apart while I’m away. She initiates her own tasks based on her needs. Showing that kind of initiative is valued in a work environment as well. Understanding your job description and using the tools that you are given, go about your day initiating and completely tasks. Don’t rely on your supervisor or co-workers to tell you what to do next. Be self-sufficient.
3. My cat keeps herself groomed
Cats, in general, are good groomers. If I pet my cat, she will almost immediately plop herself down to clean the spot where I ran my hand over her. I feel she takes pride in her appearance. This is a good example for us to follow too. Trimming, clipping, showering and ironing are important habits that should be a part of your daily routine. Your appearance not only says something about you as an individual but can say something about the company you are employed with too.
4. She knows how to get attention
Kipsy knows that being in the right place at the right time is important for getting what she wants. That usually means lying across my keyboard or sitting on the paperwork that I am trying to finish. Using her voice will also indicate to me that I need to take heed of what she is trying to communicate. These same skills are essential for leadership. Knowing how to get people to pay attention will help in delegating, brainstorming and obtaining feedback.
5. She lands on her feet
Of course, I am being literal here. If my cat falls or is dropped (accidentally of course :)), no matter what position, she will always land on her feet. Figuratively, leaders strive to land on their feet as well. When faced with adversity, leaders need to be quick to troubleshoot the best way to come out of a crisis so they too, “land on their feet”and can stand strong.
6. She isn’t afraid to try something new or explore
Kipsy is always roaming around to find new things to play with or items to explore. She doesn’t seem to be afraid to stick her head into a dark box or sniff at a new object that has been introduced. She is tentative and uses calculated caution when broaching something that she’s never encountered before. Nonetheless, she simply must check it out. Risk-taking is a beneficial trait of an effective leader too. Exploring a new concept or product can blaze a trail of innovation and create new possibilities. Kipsy has found some great lounging spots that I would have never expected because of her desire to explore.
Are there other cat traits that you can think of that lend themselves to a leader’s resume? Or perhaps there is another animal out there that also demonstrates abilities that we could learn from?