In an ideal world, every leader would be able to choose only the best people who were best suited for specific tasks and who always interacted well with their teammates.
But most leaders do not live in an ideal world…
Leaders in the real world do not always get to choose the seeds that they are asked to develop.
Sometimes we accept a leadership position and are asked to work with the people that are already there. As new leaders, we are asked to take over an intact “team” and grow those existing seeds into positive contributors and even future leaders.
The surest path to creating a high performing team is to sow the seeds they have to eventually produce more and better fruit.
If you have the opportunity to bring in more or better seeds, that is likely a great opportunity to help change the existing culture – but in any situation, leaders should focus on building a QUALITY CULTURE that allows and encourages every seed to prosper and grow.
The Parable of Seeds is found in Matthew 13:3-8.
In that story, we learn about a farmer who was sowing seeds. Some of the seeds fell on rocky places, some on shallow soil, some fell on the path to be eaten by birds, and some fell on good soil, where it produced a crop a hundred times larger than what was sown.
As leaders, sometimes the greatest influence we can have is in creating a culture where our people can settle into quality soil, establish a root system, and grow.
Not every athletic program, or business, or school is willing to invest the time or resources in creating a fertile and inspiring culture for their people, though. In fact, many organizations are so focused on the fruits of what their people are producing that they neglect to feed the roots of those seeds that they depend upon to be successful.
Leaders who truly seek to develop more leaders in their organization know that it is the root, not the fruit, that must be focused on.
The fruit – more sales, better test scores, or greater performances – will ALWAYS be an external symptom of the internal growth that wise leaders and organizations promote through a supportive culture of relationships and training.
There is a powerful bamboo story to illustrate how important it is to give your people time to grow and establish themselves before any fruits are visible.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t hold your people accountable for their contributions and efforts and productivity on their current project or role… I am simply suggesting that every effort you make to build a more positive and engaging environment for your people will be returned to your organization in ways you may not yet imagine.
The surest way to grow your organization is to grow your people.
So what constitutes the quality soil that allows people to grow – both in their skills and their relationships?
Just as each year a farmer might add lime or fertilizer to his fields, you may consider adding these three “miracle-gro” ingredients to your workplace:
Your people will thrive more when… they are connected both to each other and to a compelling cause. Give them time to build stronger relationships and ensure that they know how their part of the puzzle fits into the big picture.
Your people will thrive more when… they are recognized and appreciated for their efforts. Even the last guy on the end of the bench needs to feel like he is making a necessary contribution to the team’s success.
Your people will thrive more when… they are encouraged to learn new skills by attending workshops, or allowed to take on new roles that expand their comfort zones.
Prepare the field that is your organizational culture, and when any seed is dropped into that soil, it will be more likely to grow and produce the fruit that you desire.
Team development begins with a commitment by leadership to grow their people into a high performing team.
If you are interested in providing your people a powerful bonding experience that offers actionable insights and inspires smiles and laughter – contact me to discuss how a team building event can improve your organization.
If you have questions about team building, take a look at Sean’s FAQ page.
What other things contribute to a quality culture? I’d love to hear your thoughts…