Imagine you are a gardener. You have planted a full bed of flowers and nicely watered them in the morning. 

The sun shines and the soil looks rich. As you go to bed, you cannot sleep and have a nagging question – “ will the flowers come out ?”. The next day you decide to find out and dig open the ground to see the seeds. They are very much there and nothing much seems to have moved. You are disappointed. You repeat this every few days. After a month you give up on the idea and move on to something else.

The gardener here is the insecure boss, the seeds are your team and projects. The water is the encouragement and the support and the constant desire to dig is deep insecurity.

The insecurity killed the team. It killed their freedom, their initiative, their desire to do grow. The constant overlooking, interference, endless follow ups and questions from the boss made them all question their ability to deliver and grow.

Don’t dig the ground after you plant the seed. What should you do then you may ask

  • First set clear goals– This is often the biggest issue where what the boss seeks and what the team thinks is expected of them are at odds. Note that many wars have been won or lost because the general could not set clear goals or communicate them clearly enough to their team. The impregnable fortress of singapore was lost by the British to the Japanese because of lack of clarity on the specific goal on where to defend between the General and the leader of the battalion ! Set no more than 3-5 clear sharp measurable goals with timelines
  • Accountability Mechanism- Define a mechanism by which the boss can satisfy his curiosity and understand progress. this can be a weekly  / bi weekly or ideally monthly call. It can also be a written report submitted once a month. This should be firm and fixed in the diary 
  • Set them free – With clear goals and an accountability mechanism in place, set the team free to work and liberate them from daily chasers, follow ups and looking over their shoulders
  • Encouragement on small wins – Very important to keep on adding water and fertilizer to help the seeds become saplings and then plants. Don’t wait for the end result but instead go ahead and encourage them at every milestone

Resist the temptation to dig the ground. Seeds need support and patience to grow. Have faith – as you leave the seeds free to grow they will grow. It is their very nature to grow. Life grows with support and encouragement, not with micro management.

Keep on sowing the seeds of growth. 

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