Have you ever planted seeds in the ground? To grow vegetables or flowers or maybe herbs? How eager were you for the finish product? I think we all are whenever we plant anything. We want to see the fruits of our labor (literally) asap!
But have you ever been so eager that you dug the seeds back up out of the ground to shake them, blow on them or relocate them to get them to grow faster? Likely not. Because you understand the grow process.
You understand that it’s necessary for the seeds to sit in the ground, undisturbed yet nourished, in order for them to grow and eventually bare vegetables (or whatever you planted them for). You have a slight idea of how long it might take but you realize each individual seed is different and that it really depends on the elements provided to the seeds, such as rain, soil, fertilizer, etc. You as the planter, and a little bit of Mother Nature of course, are responsible for the quality of those elements to ensure the seeds have the best chance at rapid growth. Once you plant and provide the right elements for the seeds to grow, it’s time to sit back and wait for them to do just that. It’s time to be patient.
Leading people is really no different than planting seeds in the ground. Just like seeds, there is a necessary growth process for people to mature to a level in which they bare the coveted fruit of business, sports, and much more—results.
People, just like seeds, often come to leaders as buds of potential, full of possibilities to yield endless results. But the fact remains that it will take time for them to settle into the soil of your team culture and identify exactly what elements, and how much, they need to be successful. And you as the leader, just like the planter, are responsible for providing those elements that create an environment conducive to growth.
“So what are those elements, Raven,” you’re probably asking. “What am I responsible for providing as a leader in order to set the stage for my team to grow?” I’m so glad you asked!
Let’s take a look at what a seed needs in order to grow into a living, yielding thing. It’s pretty much 3 basic things: (1) water, (2) correct temperature, and (3) good soil.
Now, let’s translate that to people. The top 3 things people need in order to grow are:
Soil ---> Support. They need a support system around them that consists of people vested in their success. This support team is NOT just their direct leader. It should consist of trusted peers, mentors, and other vetted resources from different departments.
Now that you know what it takes to grow your people—ask yourself: Am I providing my team members, new and old, with the proper elements that support their growth? If the answer is no, start with these 3 things NOW and let’s watch them flourish… over time! Remember that patience will be required of you and that just like every seed has a different growth schedule, so do the people you lead. Some might spring up after 3 months, and others may need 1 year. You are the planter... provide the right elements and wait for each to bare crop. Sometimes the seeds that take the longest to grow bare the most.
Leaders should have the patience of farmers. Plant, feed, and wait for the harvest.