Do you run a short- or a long-leash office?

Our Jack Russell Terrier, Buster, was part of our family for many years. I used to take him out for runs in the park, using one of those retractable leashes that had about 25 feet of “play.” Invariably, Buster would pull the leash to its limit. Reaching its end, he’d tug and pull all the harder. It wouldn’t have mattered if he’d had a 50-yard tether—he simply had to go to the limit every time.

One day I was sick and tired of his tugging and pulling—especially when the geese were near the running path. So, I just kept running, and he kept tugging back—until I realized that his tugging had stopped and I’d been steadily pulling against dead weight. I turned around to see, to my horror, that Buster had passed out.

I had been dragging a limp, lifeless-looking dog. I ran back to him just as he popped up, shook his head, and started chasing the geese again. He was pulling and tugging on the leash as if nothing had happened. That was Buster for you.

Plenty of people take after Buster. No matter the length of the “leash,” it’s human nature to test the limits. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Without limits, life can get out of control. There can be comfort and security in understanding one’s limits.

Here at Same Day Dental, I use a rather long “leash” in my actions and reactions. I try to hire employees who think for themselves, who can self-regulate, and who don’t need an overly legalistic environment in which to thrive. We keep rules to a minimum and strive for clear, open communication—although this becomes more difficult as we grow.

It can be uncomfortable (and downright annoying!) if someone is continuously testing the limits. I decided long ago that, in such cases, I won’t drag the life out of them. Instead, I’ll unhook them from the “leash,” setting us both free.