The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Five Leadership Lessons from the Garden

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, May 02, 2016
Featured Image

The flowers that are in full bloom are wonderful. The weeds that have taken over one corner are terrible. To get my garden in world class condition and ready for the competitive eye of my neighbor is exactly what every leader must do: seed, feed, and weed.

  1. Consider the “season.” In today’s 24-hour global economy, it would appear that there is no season, nothing that distinguishes night from day. Grow, grow. Sell, sell. But the smart leader watches the sky, reads the clouds, and can tell when there are shifts to indicate a new season. Bring products to market at the wrong time or introduce an idea without understanding timing and the “garden” can quickly resemble a piece of scorched earth.
  1. Give credence to the unexpected and control what you can control. The El Niño weather has not only raised havoc with my roses but spawned dangerous storms and opposing droughts throughout the world. Leaders face “El Niños”: market downturns, a coup in Africa, airline strikes, terrorist attacks. You name it. A great leader takes all precautions and then remains flexible and ready for the unexpected. Scenario planning, a strategy first employed by Royal Dutch Shell, brings experts from a wide range of fields together to discuss actions if different scenarios take place. Scenario planning allows you to think out—in advance—various options. In like fashion, my corner of the garage has all the tools, sprays, and plant potions necessary for probable surprises.
  1. Plant seeds and give space to the sowers. A smart leader knows that it is only through dialogue that ideas can sprout and take root. Instead of jealously guarding “my ideas, my client, my territory,” a leader with an eye toward growing a “garden” takes no ownership but rather seeks to find which seeds have merit. Like the biblical passage, some seeds will wither on rocks or find little moisture in shallow soil. But others will be carried to places where they flourish. When newcomers bring ideas from other industries and businesses, are they welcomed or are they rooted out because “that’s not how we do things here”?
  1. Feed different plants differently. Not every plant needs the same thing, yet all plants must eat. A “garden-wise” leader understands “nothing is so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals.” Just as each voice has its own unique sonogram, each employee, associate, and stakeholder needs a unique blend of “food.” For some, the “food” is numbers: “Give me numbers and I thrive.” For many, it’s the opportunity to learn and advance in knowledge. For others, it’s the engaging nature of the work itself that offers fulfillment.
  1. Weeding is backbreaking work. A great leader hates this part of the task. It means fact-finding. Accountability. Time. Not everything that is “green” belongs in my garden. Not every associate belongs with you. In fact, firing customers at times can also be the healthiest long-term fertilizer for a vibrant business.

Leaders must take time to stop and “smell the roses.” I can get so overwhelmed with the “work” of my garden that I forget why I planted it. Why have you planted your “garden”? Are there people who delight in the work of your hands? When you step back and gaze at your enterprise, are you pleased with what you see?

Spring is now here. How does your “garden” grow?

This post originally was originally published by the Lead Change Group as Five Leadership Lessons From the Garden at http://leadchangegroup.com/five-leadership-lessons-from-the-garden/.

 



Share This Post

Like this post? Please share it!


< Back to All Posts

Comments



Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

View all posts by Eileen


Subscribe to My Blog!


Like My Blog?

Please share it!

Recents Posts


Categories



Archive


Tags

Intentions Play Art New Year resolutions Walk For Hunger Connection love Disruption Energizing Others employees Stress Bullying Disrupt Alzheimer's John Mattone Branding employee retention Meetings coaching Patriots Vacation resilience Anxiety Mother's Day Environtment Honoring Veterans Children Marriage Thanksgiving Bill Treasurer waiting Women Human Interaction Managers Breath Christmas Feedback USAA Talk Ain't Cheap Book Seder Eve Networking Road Trip Deloitte Career Advice Volunteer The Last Jedi Sexual Harassment Relationships Fun Work Environment Idea Sales Vegan Compassion work life balance Superbowl Fear Ecotourism Memorial Day Adam Grant Persuasion Your Resiliency GPS Climate Change Adventure Strangers Social Media Diversity Hurricane Irma Arlington Cemetary Jewish Positive Brain Repatterning cancer Interview holidays Travel Spelling Bee Family Henry VIII Dogs Energizing Book Reviews Spirit Loneliness Yoga Soft Skills Engaged Workers Sheryl Sandberg Back To School Communication earthquakes Boston Marathon women in leadership Building Resilience Exercise Conversation Tornadoes in Texas Laughter Sleeping Loss customer service Married Requisite Variety Office Celebrations Writing Aging Corporate Culture Option B Energy Depression Words Humor WASP Empathy John Havlik Listening teams Emotional Intelligence Reshaping the Brain Napping goals Suddenly Single Postive Work Environment Siblings Politics More Fun at Work Adaptability e-mail creativity Nursing Kindness Joy Burnout John Blumberg civil discourse preresilience LGBTQ Sustainability Learned Optimism Twas The Night Before Christmas Humanity Technology conscience ecology Voting angels Employee Attitude Change Time Management St. Patrick's Day resilient organizations Guns Leadership Skills Content Generation resilient leaders Leaders Open Doors Book Breathe Optimism Motivating Others Happiness Mark Scharenbroich Ownership Charity Hurricane Harvey Resolutions Faith resiliency Gifts From The Mountain Trust U.S.A.A. gratitude Multi-tasking Radical Resiliency Speaking Divorce Animals Survive