Leadership is like gardening.
To lead a healthy life or to lead others well is much like gardening. While visiting my parents in Arizona, I had the opportunity to plant three Red Tips (a bush-like plant). I’ve always enjoyed gardening and well-designed landscapes. It’s therapeutic while also useful for learning about life and leadership.
- Plant in the right place (sun and/or shade exposure and in the correct region of the country) = do everything you can to make sure the new team member is a fit for the job (experience, temperament, skill-sets, life situation, etc.).
- Dig the hole big enough so roots can easily establish themselves = do everything you can to remove obstacles from new team members (familiarize them with everything and everyone, be generous in every way possible).
- Water appropriately. Too much or too little water can damage and even kill the plant = every leader must adapt their style to the individual to be most effective. Some team members thrive with detailed instructions and management oversight while others enjoy a little more room to work independently (we usually call this micro-management or hands-off management and both extremes are usually counterproductive).
- Fertilizing appropriately. Most soils are unable to provide all the nutrients required by the plant so occasional fertilization keeps them fresh and healthy = time away for off-site learning experiences, bonuses, perks, vacations, etc., keep team members learning, growing, and rested.
- Weeding keeps the garden beautiful and should never be a huge chore if it’s done daily or weekly = keeping accountability on a daily or weekly basis (praise, coaching, and correction) goes a long way preventing the huge “sit-down” summit from happening. Try to weed daily… it’s better for everyone. You’ll be surprised how little there is to do when you make it a habit!
For other takes on leadership, you may want to also check these out:
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