The addition of an 18 month old labradoodle (pictured) to our family has taken us on a roller-coaster ride. The last 15 months have been an exercise in joy, commitment, frustration and persistence. When I think on the impact our new member has had on the rest of the family, I have realised that it is not very different to a new person entering a team in business. I have also realised that animals know an awful lot about being in a team – they have existed and survived in packs for thousands of years.


Here are some of the lessons learnt with Jake on being a good team member and being a good leader of a team.

1. The team rules need to be understood and applied by all members of the team / pack.

2. You need to protect your team from outside forces.

3. Listening and being present are important to your team.

4. Greet your team members like you are meeting them for the first time every day.

5. Consistency is crucial to trust and understanding.

6. Trust is built over months, not seconds.

7. Learn the things that you shouldn’t do in the team.

8. Remember that each team has different rules to live by.

9. Show respect for your team in ways that they appreciate.

10. Understand the unique behaviour and skill set you bring to the team.

11. Look after your team and they will look after you / You have to meet the needs of your team.

12. Breaks in discipline / performance can’t wait until later to fix.

13. Leading the team is not a half-hearted, part time responsibility.

14. The leader needs to guide the team clearly and precisely.

15. The leadership hierarchy needs to be understood by all of the team.


What are rules governing your team? Are they understood by everyone? Does everyone apply them? Consider the list and check to see if your team meets the criteria set out by Jake.