dog chasing tailImagine, you’ve just had another one of those meetings or discussions with a challenging personality or team and you are frustrated, upset or just plain mad. Your blood pressure is up and you are reliving the conversation or event over and over again.

What is it about certain people or teams that can get us worked up – where we lose our cool or even become emotional and tears start to flow? And, adding more angst to the situation, you find yourself reliving it or carrying the message around with you for days or even months.

This is the phenomenon I refer to as “getting wagged.” When you allow other people to influence your feelings or reactions, you are giving them tremendous power and influence over your success and well being. Reacting is not the most empowered leadership state to put yourself in; rather, an effective strategy that you can use is to take control of yourself and your reactions and behavior. After all, you do have the ability to choose how you will react or respond to and how you won’t.people talking in the office

While it may not be the most eloquent statement, being the dog means that you will decide when to “get wagged” and when not to. You are in control of your behavior and can influence the outcome.

In fact, there are three immediate responses you can choose from when you find yourself “getting wagged” and want to be the Dog.

  • Ignore what is being said
  • Ask for clarity and understanding
  • Redirect the conversation

Any of these options allow you to remain in control – of yourself. You can’t change somebody else’s behavior, but you absolutely can manage your own.

You may also find that once you stop reacting and responding to hurtful or inappropriate behavior, the “thrill is gone” for the instigator(s). At a minimum, when you take control of the situation, you have stepped into a more empowered leadership role.

So, “be the Dog and not the Tail.”