Influencing ‘Dogs’ and ‘Cats’ in the Workplace


Have you ever wondered why you get on really well with some people in the workplace and other people seem to have come from another planet?
Do you find it challenging to connect with the more senior people within the organisation? Your boss – your manager – the senior partner?
We all know that people are very different and if we want to build better relationships it’s important to understand where people are coming from. First of all it’s important to understand ourselves – what kind of personality do we have and then to think through the personality styles of our colleagues. There is a very simple and very basic way of starting to think about this -  the behaviour of ‘CATS’ and ‘DOGS’.
Working out if somebody is a ‘CAT’ or ‘DOG’ personality is a good place to start analysing how people behave in the workplace and beyond.

Characteristics of ‘DOG’ personalities:                                                                                                                         
·         They are accommodating and friendly
·         Want to get on with everybody
·         They tend to come when you call them
·         They worry if they feel someone does not like them
75% of people are ‘DOGS’ at work

Characteristic of ‘CAT’ personalities:

·        They have their own ideas and don’t care what anyone else thinks
·         Cats like to be on their own
·        They care more about getting what they want than pleasing people
·        Cats can take up a lot of group time as they don’t like to comply
·         25% of people are ‘CATS’ at work

Many senior people in organisations tend to be ‘CATS’. They are seen as good leaders, driven personalities and focused on achieving the end result which means they can often rise through the ranks quickly.
(Obviously this is a simple theory – put forward to be able to make a quick assessment of character. People are obviously complex and need a lot of time to understand. No one is purely ‘cat’ or ‘dog’ but often lean towards one set of behaviours yet can be totally different in different situations – for example a ‘cat’ at work and a ‘dog’ at home!)
However, if this simple system makes sense to you then how can we use it to build better relationships and influence our bosses (CATS) in the workplace or our teams (DOGS) in the workplace.

Ways to influence Cats:

·         Cats prefer facts – so make sure you give them hard evidence,
statistics, proof
·         Facts are best delivered in a visual way – so use graphs, diagrams, flow
·         Focus on issues and facts not people and feelings
·         Don’t try to make friends with them. They may become a friend in time
if they respect and value you

 So – How can we influence our teams – often ‘DOGS’ to get the results we want

Ways to influence ‘DOGS’:
·         Ask for their opinion
·         Offer assistance on projects

·         Have a group discussion, listening and valuing all team ideas
·         Use approachable body language when asking for team input, palms

          facing up, head tilted, varying voice tone 


So the next time you’re in the workplace and having issues with a colleague think about what category they fall into and try out this simple process and treat them accordingly.
If you would like to know more or have a half day session for your team around this model please call 01926 843044 or email

Best Regards – Liam Gilmore
Effective Communications 

This entry was posted in Tips and Advice. Bookmark the permalink.