The Sheep and the Dog – Appreciating Leadership

Some sheep complained to their shepherd about the difference in treatment of themselves and the sheepdog. ‘We provide you with wool, lambs and milk and you give us nothing but grass and even that we have to find ourselves. You get nothing from the dog and he even gets titbits from your table’. The sheepdog overheard this and spoke up ‘Yes quite right too, where would you be if it wasn’t for me? Thieves would steal you, wolves would eat you. If I didn’t watch over you, you would be too terrified even to graze’.

The sheep acknowledged that this was true and never again made a grievance about the sheepdog.

Sometimes we can feel a bit resentful of our boss. They seem to have less to do than we do and have all the advantages. At least that is how it appears. But so often we don’t see the whole picture. They too have responsibilities to their boss and they may feel a lot of pressure.

It is easy not to see things from their perspective and even miss how much our job depends on what they do.

So determine to make this ‘appreciate your manager’ week and try to understand what they have to do. Instead of griping or criticizing start thanking them. Let them know how much you appreciate them overseeing what you are doing. You’ll be amazed at the result.

Applaud something they have done in a group setting. Show empathy ‘It can’t be easy for you trying to juggle as much as you do.…..’

Especially now as we begin emerging out of the COVID-19 shutdown, your manager, as well as you, recognizes that there’s going to be a new normal. We know that things are going to change, and few things will be the way they always were. So this might be your time to appreciate your boss in a way you never have before.

Whatever you’ve been secretly thinking about, perhaps now is the time to act. Talk to your manager about those changes that you have in mind and wish could happen, whilst appreciating all they are doing. This is the best time to change things because people, including your leader, expect it. It opens up the field for you like never before. In this way you can ensure your leader is moving with you. Any energy wasted in not supporting each other will only reduce your productivity. Make this a positive time as you move forward.

Ruth is the principal and founder of Ascent Philanthropy, author of two books and passionate about helping non-profits with their major gift programmes by offering advice for introducing a new major gift programme or enhancing the productivity of the philanthropy team

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