One look at my garden will be enough to tell you that I am no gardener! This Christmas we were given an Amaryllis which looks like a dead bulb in the pot and nothing like the picture on the box! However, with some water and sunlight, amazingly, it will start to grow again. This reminded me, even with my limited gardening knowledge, of the principle around sowing and reaping. What we sow we will reap.
As you start 2022 what are you going to sow this year?
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
What Robert Louis Stevenson is saying here is that it matters what you think, say, and do. Think about these things as seeds that can take root and grow. If you sow kindness you will reap kindness, just as if you sow an apple seed you will eventually get apples. Each seed reproduces after its own kind.
“If you don’t like what you are reaping, you had better change what you have been sowing.”
One of the questions I ask leaders is: do you like the culture of your team? If the answer is no and they have been the leader more than 18 months, then the culture is a reflection of their leadership. So, if you don’t like it what are you as the leader going to change? Every decision we make sows something and therefore has consequences for good or ill.
“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow.” James Allen
One seed when sown produces 30, 60, a 100-fold when it grows. The principle, as James Allen puts it, is that there is an increase in what you sow. Whatever you sow.
The farmer wants to maximise the crop and the quality of the crop because they will get more value from it financially. The same is true in leadership. To reap a quality high preforming team requires leaders to sow the right things.
What should you sow?
- Trust – If you sow trust in others, you will reap the same. To cultivate an environment of trust in your team you must go first. Trusting others is risky however the consequences of a low trust environment are far more impactful.
- Example – In the leadership challenge, Kouzes & Posner in their leadership principles emphasise the importance of modelling the behaviour you want to see. Nothing undermines your influence quicker than you not walking your talk.
- Encouragement – Sure, things need to be corrected: poor performance, unacceptable behaviour. However, as leaders we must be on the lookout for things to encourage. Catch team members doing things you want to see happening in the team no matter how small.
- Innovation – We hire people because they bring the skills you need in your team. Beyond that, how do you encourage innovation? Experimentation? If the sky falls on the head of anyone in your team for failing, innovation will go out the window. Instead adopt a posture of learning. If it’s not someone’s core competency then learn from the experiment, iterate and move on. Sowing learning not blame reaps the same.
- Value for people – Your team knows when you care. Sow love, sow making room for other voices in the room even if you don’t agree with them. As leaders you will never build a strong team unless you hold the highest good in mind for them. Leadership is a responsibility not a status.
Decide now how you will behave as a leader in 2022, whatever you decide to sow you will definitely reap.
I am happy to help you think your leadership style through, why not book an informal 30-minute chat here for a better 2022?