PO Box 239, Pratt, KS 67124

Sheepdog or Alpha Dog?


There are great books and messages on dealing with strong-willed kids and strong-willed spouses.

Dealing with strong-willed associates is common too. But there are few model insights for the clash of those titans. The protection business is filled with strong-willed associates; men and women.  Almost daily, I correspond with some security operator having issues with a person, persons or me. Some are more right than wrong or vice versa; but of course, not in their mind.

We can learn from the marriage model. My wife and I are both strong willed. We learned (and keep learning) that being right is not as important as being in agreement. Getting there can be painful. Being right is important to me. I am responsible if something fails, so I must be the one seeing things clearly, then leading through the jungle.

Well, yeah – unless I’m wrong, or (as is sometimes tougher to see), when her right is better than mine.

A strong-willed defender’s opinion whips out like an old desperado’s Colt; slipping leather like lightning. And that opinion is the difference between life and death. Don’t try to tell them it’s not. He (she) is right; they heard it from someone great, learned it at America’s top course, experienced it at some incident or had a friend killed by not doing it. End of talk.


Think about it…

Here are six simple things to discuss with your team, especially your strong-willed leaders. Blame it on me; you didn’t write it.

ONE: Be known as one who listens. Steven Covey wrote that one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders was that they seek first to understand, then to be understood.

TWO: Stand common ground (I didn’t say, “stand your ground”). Digging into dogma stinks; even when you’re right. You’re a team (maybe even a team leader), you’re not “King of the Hill” (that’s a game won by a strong-willed child). Don’t try to win disagreements; model honorable leadership.

THREE: Be a team. The best player on the team is of no value if they can’t play well with others.

FOUR: Identify the real sight picture. When titans clash, it’s often about side issues. Focus on the front sight.

FIVE: Share the credit. There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.

SIX: You’re a Sheepdog; not the Alpha Dog.

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