As the two-legged member of a therapy dog team, I’m regularly practicing becoming a better human-centered leader with stronger empathy, vulnerability, and humility muscles. I still have a long way to go as I observe MarcelTheTherapyDog and all the other therapy dogs who are present for patients, students, staff members, and others. In fact, in recognition of their important role in providing animal-assisted therapy, the dogs were promoted to the title of “dog therapist” earlier this year at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Marcel and I also visit the College of Charleston to destress students and schools so students can read to him as a fun, low-stress way to improve their reading skills.
Volunteering with your dog is a “pawsome” experience, as our MUSC dog therapy leader Cathy Bennett likes to say. For my story as well as what we can learn about human-centered leadership from dogs, check out my Forbes blog from May 24, 2022, Want to be a better human-centered leader? Watch a therapy dog team at work.
And by the way, the dog pictured on the Forbes website is not Marcel, although he’d enjoy a workspace like that when he’s not playing on the beach, napping or getting pets in non-work situations. The picture here is from his “business card/trading card,” which also list his vital information, such as weight (100 pounds) and “barkday” (date of birth: 11/26/15).
The cards are for patients, students, staff members, and anyone else who wants to collect a memento to remember their visit with a dog therapist. By providing us and the other therapy dogs with these cards, MUSC (the Medical University of South Carolina) embeds many wonderful memories.
Connect the dots plus dot the “i”s to be more intentional, inquisitive and inclusive
How well are you tapping into the skills and wisdom you need to lead in a VUCA world?
All the old playbooks are out-of-date. Instead, you need to reach inside yourself, tap into your wisdom, and connect the dots for yourself and others.
To start, you can use these 5 tips to embrace your humanity and become a better leader.