Leadership Lessons From Basil

Updated March 4, 2021


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You CAN Keep a Dog and “Bark” Yourself

Have you ever heard the old phrase “why keep a dog and bark yourself”? Well, as a dog who’s cared for by a team of ‘two-leggers’, I’m here to tell you some keepers certainly do do their fair share of the barking.


Clearly, I’m not talking about ACTUAL barking – though for humans the BGFG team certainly make some weird and wonderful noises. No, I’m talking about leadership; the right kind of leadership.


Being an office dog here at BGFG has its perks – I get dropsies, pats on the head, and SOMETIMES, I get to chew toys, but the best part about spending time here is I get to be a fly on the wall observing the day-to-day happenings.


What have I learnt? That BGFG leaders debunk the saying ‘why keep a dog and bark yourself’. Let’s explore.


The best kind of ‘two-leggers’ get themselves involved in the daily tasks as well as the running of the business.


Everyone needs leadership; someone to offer direction and ensure that folks are on the same page, but the best kind of leadership I’ve seen is when the hierarchy isn’t enforced. Of course, it’s vital to have a leadership to take care of the behind-the-scenes tasks and ensure the business keeps running, but the real leaders get themselves involved with the team doing the same level of work.


When you work in a start-up, it is critical that everyone is prepared to get stuck in. You need to be very agile so you can react fast to challenges and opportunities. When the team sees founders leading from the front, excited and motivated, it sets the right tone that there’s a strong entrepreneurial spirit. It’s evident that here at BGFG, the team thrive on this type of culture and it motivates us all. 


Leading by example is a fantastic way of inspiring and motivating anyone. I for one feel more inclined to go after that dropped piece of toast if I see another dog going after it or chase a ball when someone has thrown it for me. 


Chitter Chatter is key to a positive workplace culture.


‘Two-leggers’ talk, A LOT. But it seems to have a positive effect. The team here always seem to be highly motivated and excited to hear people’s views on anything they want to implement, although I do sometimes struggle to get them to understand when I want more food right after my dinner.



It’s important as a leader not to hide behind closed doors and not to be afraid to communicate the highs and the lows. Open communication is integral to a business model. Being transparent about everything and allowing people to get stuck in across all facets of the business can make them feel a part of something bigger, something they strive to see succeed.


This helps you to see where some people can either fill, complement, develop or match each other’s skills. Don’t call it a flat structure or a transparent culture. Simply be open to learning, evolving and maturing – all with a sense of humour. 


Luckily, the ‘two-leggers’ in the leadership team here have always been transparent about the business and its growth: from financials, to hiring, to finding new office digs, workplace health and wellbeing – and they never expect anyone to do anything they would not do themselves. Yes, even cleaning up after me!


Covid-19 has changed everything when it comes to leadership – but it hasn’t taken away the ability to have a natter, a good laugh, or a bark! So, keep those conversations happening.



Know How to Learn from Failure


If there’s one thing that works for our team is that failure isn’t an issue. Some of them are terrible during FIFA Friday’s but they still try again the next week!


‘Two-leggers’, unlike us dogs, are human and therefore bound to make some mistakes. But one of the best attributes they have is the ability to shake themselves off, regain their energy, absorb feedback, and learn how to move forward – just like they would in a game. 


As a leader, it’s important to acknowledge mistakes, but provide constructive feedback and help a member of the team learn from what happened. Gamers are all leaders when they get hold of the control, but they assess the situation, read the game, and are quick to adapt and evolve when they slip up. If they can, so can you!



Every business needs leadership, and not every business knows how to lead the right way, but the ‘two-leggers’ at BGFG certainly do!


If you fancy joining me as a fly on the wall and witnessing how you can keep a dog and bark yourself, head over to our careers page and see what ‘woofly’ roles we have available.


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