Leadership and lettuce

“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh

When we think about leadership, we often think it is about getting stuff done. But leadership isn’t about what you do, it’s about what other people do. A leader’s job is not to complete tasks, but rather to create the right environment for tasks to be completed in.

This is done on two levels – company culture and individual needs.

Leaders craft the culture by showing what attitudes and behaviour are expected and allowed. They model the organization’s values and act as spokespeople for the mission and vision. Or they don’t. The overall culture of an organization will influence how committed employees are to one another and the organization, and how engaged they are with their work.

Leaders must also understand their team as individuals. They need to learn what makes them tick and work with them to ensure they have what they need to reach their full potential. Just as peppers have different needs than carrots, leaders must understand that their people are not one-sized-fits-all and adjust their approach accordingly.

When leaders tend to these two areas, everyone reaps the benefits.

A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick start your conversation.

  1. In your opinion, what are the responsibilities of a leader?
  2. What makes a leader “great”?
  3. What are the top three skills/abilities a leader should have?