Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Are You a “Sheep Dog” or a “Blood Hound?”

Posted by admin December - 5 - 2017 - Tuesday

Do you enjoy reading books on leadership? I hope so! If you want to improve any skill, you must educate yourself. The question came up the other day about what characteristics are found in a great leader. Volumes have been written and speakers have made millions passing along their ideas about this subject. When pondering it myself last night, I guess my mind was in “allegorical” mode… cuz this is what the Lord impressed upon me:

As a leader… are you a “Sheep Dog” or are you a “Blood Hound???!!!”

Have you ever watched a collie or Australian shepherd work a herd? It is amazing. Obviously, some of it is instinctive but a shepherd must train his dog to obey his commands and know when to step in and when to sit. A sheep dog is constantly on the alert for predators and some are even trained to attack. Their primary job, though, is to “herd.” Our son and daughter-in-law have an Australian shepherd. Even with no training, that dog will get in the back yard and “herd” their other two dogs around the yard! “Yipping and nipping” I call it! Particularly with the younger dog. He stays right on his heels barking and nipping at his hind feet to “herd” that dog around the yard.

It would be comical if you didn’t realize that what their shepherd is doing is just what a good leader must do for his team/organization: keeping the herd moving in the right direction! THAT’S what a strong leader does: keeps his crew focused… on task… and moving in the right direction. Sometimes he has to shout encouragement (“yipping”) and sometimes he must push and prod (“nipping”). Knowing how and when and who to do each with is part of the maturation process any good leader must go through.

In other words, a sheep dog is out front and alert to what’s going on within the group while also being aware of external circumstances (predators) which may adversely affect his “herd.” Sheep dogs possess boundless energy. A sheep dog is vigilant and protecting of his herd. All are qualities that a great leader needs to emulate.

A “Blood Hound”, on the other hand, waits until he is called into action before he starts on the trail of a missing person. He is well-trained and obedient but… he does not show much initiative. He has to be pointed in the right direction before he picks up the scent of whoever he is looking for. This is the problem with too many leaders— they wait instead of initiate! A blood hound is so focused on the task at hand that he does not “see” what’s going on around him. Chaos could be breaking out all around him but… he’s got his nose on the trail. Yes, a blood hound performs a valuable service but… he doesn’t possess the characteristics that would make him a good leader.

My advice: watch a sheep dog in action. See how many “sheep dog” traits you possess. You’ll find that your leadership skills will definitely improve!

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