An amusing and memorable metaphor to help clarify two basic types of human behavioural programming is Cats versus Dogs. Oddly enough, the natural characteristics of these two household pets can be both a descriptive and an accurate way of illustrating human behaviour.
Think about the classic stereotypes of a typical household cat and dog. The cat behaves as if he owns the house and everyone is there to serve him. The dog acts as the loyal servant of his master. The cat is very independent and aloof, and does exactly what he wants. The dog is overly friendly, dependent and gregarious, and does whatever he is told. You can’t teach a cat, punish him or reward him – he just ignores you and carries on doing what he wants. A dog can be taught lots of tricks and he overreacts to both punishment and rewards. Cats tend to be very still and serene. Dogs tend to be either in constant movement or sleeping at their master’s feet in total adoration. Fights between the two are usually won by cats. Dogs both fear and provoke cats. Cats ignore the existence of dogs.
Translating this into more human terms, it is important to remember that each person always has both cat and dog capabilities. There is no value judgement implied. It is not better to be either cat or dog. In fact, a truly charismatic leader has usually mastered such a blend of both that it is almost impossible to establish which one is their preference. So, the best objective to aim for is to be able to shift your behaviour from cat to dog, or vice versa, according to what the situation requires and the ultimate result you wish to obtain.
My best wishes, Paul