Merge's Blog

Leaders, take action to “weed your garden”

I often blog about how it’s important for leaders to take action, even if it may not be comfortable or easy.  My continued musings about my little garden on my terrace led to yet another metaphor that illustrates this essential leadership concept.

It’s important to weed your garden …

take actionEarlier this year, in the spring, I carefully planned out and planted my little patio garden.  It has grown exactly as I hoped – the rainbow of snapdragons are finished flowering but the petunias are still blooming in a riot of colour; the mint and the chives are growing like crazy; and the red maples that were planted a few years ago continue to mature and flourish.  I love my little terrace oasis.

Except for one thing – those darn weeds that appear to sprout up overnight, or sometimes seemingly in the blink of an eye!  Turns out that if you don’t weed your garden regularly, these annoying wild interlopers can quickly take over and choke what you spent hours and days carefully cultivating.  And unfortunately, as I have discovered, weeding your garden isn’t a one-time activity.  It is something you need to do consistently and regularly to ensure that what you’ve planted continues to thrive and succeed.

Just like it’s important to take action to “weed” your team

Much like what happens in leadership.  Your team is a like a garden.  But there are also weeds – negativity, unnecessary stressors from other departments, or even a specific problem individual or two.  Your role as a leader is to make sure you consistently and regularly weed your garden to ensure that your people don’t get choked by negative impacts and attitudes.

Translated into action, this means that you need to keep a close watch on what may be impeding high-performance on your team, and then step up to deal with the problems before they cause significant damage.  This could require that you move quickly and decisively to deal with the source of negativity.  It may necessitate promptly addressing a performance problem.  It may involve difficult conversations with your peers in other departments.  Whatever it is, you need to take action.  As a leader, it is your responsibility to create a weed-free environment in which your staff can continue to thrive and succeed.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this metaphor.  Does it fit your experiences as a leader?  Do you take action, or is it easier to simply let the weeds grow?  What are the challenges you face in “weeding your garden”?  Please comment below.

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