Gardening Secrets for Leading a Team

 

seed emerging

Regardless of the size, leading an organization is hard work. It is like gardening. You can’t just plant it and forget it and expect to receive a bountiful harvest. If you approach gardening with this mindset, you are in for a big disappointment.

Being the leader of an organization and being a gardener have much in common. The results of your efforts can be rewarding but not always, no matter how hard you work.

After hours of toiling in the hot sun, my two 4 x 4 raised garden beds were ready for planting. I had visions of summer vegetables just like Monticello. To my dismay, I did not harvest one thing. It did not thrive on neglect. Plus, a hot, dry summer did not help.

To assure the best results, here are some guidelines from gardening to leading:

1)      Create an environment that is conducive to what you are growing. Till the soil; remove impediments such as roots, rocks, or construction debris. Make it as easy as possible for your team to work with the right lighting, proper tools whether those are software or jack hammers, and clutter free.

2)      Choose the right plant for your location. An orchid does not thrive in freezing temperatures. Hire the right people. Give them the training and support needed to do their job well. Do not put a shade loving plant in a place getting 12 hours of sun.

3)      Pay close attention. A wilting plant is screaming for water. With the right opportunities, your team can express what it needs to make a contribution to the success of your business. You can use short, well run meetings to find out what’s working and what is not working.

4)      Remove problems. Small weeds are easier to eliminate than big ones which have taken over. This applies to employees who create a toxic environment. Regardless of how smart they are, these folks take the energy from others on your team.

5)      Keep track. Like Thomas Jefferson, use a journal to manage what you are growing. The right key performance indicators give your team and you feedback on how your business is doing. You can see what you need to do more of or less of for success.

Each spring I take soil samples to Clemson University Extension Service to get expert advice on what I need to grow centipede grass, perennials, azaleas and camellias. The county agents are eager to help. Recently I explained I prefer to garden organically. The smiling agent said, “Ah, the eternal optimist.”

Whether you are growing a business or a garden, expecting the best results is a set up to succeed. Do your part to create a good outcome and celebrate your success. Learn how to improve and keep going. And, remember to wear sunscreen and insect repellant.

© 2016 Ann Elliott All Rights Reserved

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