Why Don’t Cats Make Good Managers?
Those of you who follow me on social media or have attended any of my training sessions will already know that I like cats.
They usually feature in my presentation slides, often feature in my photographs and always feature in my home life, usually sitting or standing where they shouldn’t be.
We all know how cats seem to rule the roost despite not actually being top dog but their tactics for trying to get us doing what they want us to do can teach us a lot about how not to manage people.
Cats don’t make good managers because…
They speak more than they listen. If you’ve ever been near a cat when it wants to be fed, which let’s face it is pretty much any moment they aren’t asleep, you will be aware of the incessant screaming, yowling and nudging they do. No matter how many times you tell them it’s not time for food they simply won’t listen and keep on moaning until you begrudgingly give in to their way of thinking.
They try to trip people up. Many is the time a cat has tried to trip me up when I have been climbing the stairs. They have an absolute ability to appear from nowhere just at the moment when I’m turning the corner or about to reach the top. It’s almost as though they don’t want me to succeed in reaching the landing and would rather me fall and them sit at the top gloating.
They think the world revolves around them. Regardless of the time, date or circumstance, the comfort and needs of the cat must come first. Whether you are sitting on the precise part of the chair they want to settle on, or you are trying to use the bathroom in peace or even you have decided to have a snooze on the sofa they will stop at nothing to get their own way.
They have unrealistic expectations. They believe they deserve a continuous supply of food, that every door should be fitted with on demand automatic open and close features and that central heating and log fires should be fuelled 24/7/365 for their convenience regardless of what anyone else needs, thinks or feels.
They are devious. When you stare at a cat it stares back at you and gives away nothing of it’s thoughts and/or intentions. Only the cat knows what it is really thinking and generally speaking that involves some kind of plotting. Never turn your back on a cat or you’ll turn around to find they have either pinched your seat, stolen the piece of chicken off the kitchen counter (or both) and are busy looking like butter literally wouldn’t melt in their mouth.
They refuse to look at themselves in the mirror. Have you ever held a cat up to a mirror? No? Don’t bother. They refuse point blank to be drawn into looking at themselves. They have no interest in looking at their own reflection to identify themselves. They have no need to, after all they know they are awesome in every way.
They are impossible to train. I think it’s pretty well known that a cat will only do what it wants to do when it wants to do it. They like to decide the status quo and do nothing to contribute to any situation unless it is for their own benefit. Unlike dogs they seek no reward other than the satisfaction that they are in charge and most certainly don’t want to adjust their behaviour to make life better for everyone else.
Fortunately not many cats get promoted to the position of manager but that can’t always be said about humans.
In order to succeed as a manager we need to be prepared to accept that we don’t know it all, to take a look at ourselves, communicate what we think and what we expect. We need to recognise that the performance of our team is the true measure of our success and unless we set them free to grow we will always be limiting ourselves and the business.
The ability to communicate effectively forms part of all of the above and it is necessary to actively listen to staff and engage with them to motivate them, engage them and retain them so that the business can grow and develop.
If you would like to discuss how to make sure your managers become less cat then please do get in touch.