Leadership is like gardening

Leadership is a lot like gardening. We select new employees (plant or seed selection), pick the best spot for them to grow and plant them (orientation and job start). Employees also need to understand the culture of the organization, or shall we say the garden bed they are planted in.

Just as newly planted seeds need water and sunshine, new employees need guidance and feedback.

Sometimes the leader (gardener) needs to do a little weeding as well. This can be in the form of constructive feedback. I don’t like to use the word “criticism”. Feedback to a staff member is an opportunity. This can end up being a bit of fertilizer for that staff member. The goal is to grow your team! Get the weeds out, stir up the soil, and add that fertilizer. You will gain respect from those on your team if they know you have their interests at heart.

Sometimes we have garden failures too. The plant you nurtured can still wither and die. I tend to look at this as a failure on the part of the gardener. Failure happens and only then can we learn from it. I have had to give up on staff over the years and I hate that. It is disheartening and a time I reflect to identify if I could have done things a bit differently. Then I put my gardening boots back on and go find some more seeds!


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