A Leader’s Best Friend

A small African American boy with a beautiful golden retriever dogPets not only capture the hearts of their owners — they make them better leaders, as well.

A survey by Kelton Research on behalf of Banfield Pet Hospital in September found that 93% of U.S. C-suite executives grew up with a pet and 78% attributed some part of their success to having a pet as a child.

Dogs were the most popular pet of the 857 Americans surveyed, with 83% of business leaders owning one as a child. But 59% grew up with a cat and 37% grew up with other pets such as birds, rabbits or rodents.

“Regardless of the pet, top business leaders agree their pet companions taught them valuable lessons as a child, such as responsibility, empathy and creativity — qualities they believe helped them to thrive as leaders in the workplace,” according to a news release from Vancouver, Washington-based Banfield Pet Hospital.

Leaders also cited discipline (92%), organization (79%) and the ability to identify and anticipate business needs (38%) as other valuable lessons of pet ownership.

Even if a pet wasn’t present in their childhood, leaders said they benefit from having pets as adults. Pet owners report they stick to a schedule (86%), have better time management (86%) and are good at multitasking (86%) because of their cat, dog, bird or hamster. They also found that having pets connects them to others at work who are pet owners.

So, if improving your leadership skills is one of your goals for 2019, picking out a pet may be a great place to start.