Saturday, June 4, 2011

Being a good people's gardener

Part of my daily tasks is to manage people. Despite all the golden management rules great models, books and management tools, each person on a team requires different approaches. I believe it is my role to motivate my team and to awake passion and commitment towards their job; to basically ensure that the team enjoys what it is working towards to and to instill a sense of pride when achieving things with excellence. Easy said but difficult to achieve.
The main question I often ponder about is why is it possible with some people and not with others. Recently I came across the following quote by Peter Senge which made me wonder about the predisposition of people:
'Leaders instigating change are often like gardeners standing over their plants, imploring them: ‘Grow! Try harder! You can do it!’ No gardener tries to convince a plant to want to grow: If the seed does not have the potential to grow, there’s nothing anyone can do to make a difference’
So how does one know if a seed has potential and when do you give up to nurture and fertilize?  The quote was used in a slightly different context regarding ‘instigating social change’ but I felt it addresses exactly the issue I struggle with. The first thing that made me smile about the quote is the fact that I am sometimes exactly that person that stands above the 'plants' and shouts 'grow' without giving enough time and space for it to happen naturally. I am by nature a 'go-getter' and want to get things done rather yesterday which I know cannot work at all times. Otherwise I think I am a good gardener trying to nurture and take care to my best abilities. I am committed to support and constantly assess my way of doing things. I need to however learn how to let go. I need to know when the ball is in the employee's court and when it is time for the person to carry responsibility for their state of being. In my opinion, I would not say that a person is a seed without potential. I believe that there is hidden potential in each human being, but I think there a times when individuals are at a stage where they are not prepared to or able to unlock their own potential. This is the most difficult moment to recognize in a person and then,  to let go as a manger. 
I sometimes wonder if this is not even more difficult being a women as it is our nature is to nurture...

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