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Posted by on Oct 30, 2013 in Business, Culture, Featured, Inspirational, Leadership, Strategy | 2 comments

The Leader’s Greatest Harvest

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Seeds are curious things—small, innocuous . . . overlooked.  Incredibly, they are filled with an amazing power for growth. A growth for greatness. So, too, is your capability for seeding leadership potential!

I learned from a close-friend that a single shaft of wheat, left undamaged and allowed to grow unchecked, could spontaneously multiply into a crop large enough to feed the entire world population for an entire year–within only eight years. Likewise, with only a single apple seed, you could grow a tree—and a single apple tree produces enough seed to plant an entire orchard.

Promoting an environment where individual teammates are encouraged and empowered to grow for the good of the team and the Mission.

True leadership, the type that succeeds in continually pushing the bounds of individual and organizational potential, is about promoting an environment where individual teammates are encouraged and empowered to grow for the good of the team and the Mission. When we make it a priority to plant the seeds for collective success, we create conditions for those around us to flourish and thrive—both personally and professionally.

I recommend the following 3 keys to success at seeding leadership potential:

Meet Me Halfway

The most successful leaders learned long ago that real success is achieved through working with people, rather than against them. Seek out opportunities to cut-the-distance between you and your teammates by including them in decision-making processes. Through the inclusion of their voice, you show them that their ideas and inputs actually matter. Seek to plant the seeds of inclusion and your teammates will help cultivate long-lasting relationships.

Create conditions for those around us to flourish and thrive

Do More, Speak Less

When you were growing up, you learned more from paying attention to your surroundings—and how people acted—than from what you were told. Example breeds repetition. Rather than simply talking with your teammates about their potential, take an active role in helping them to realize their potential. Dig deep in your team’s time and resources to encourage nurturing and growth: sponsor their attendance at a professional development event. Encourage teammates to expand their horizons and take a class or join a club you recommend which feed into their strength and help them develop their potential. What is your favorite leadership book? Do you think a certain teammate would benefit from reading that particular title? My point is that your demonstrated willingness to invest in their growth is what makes the difference—more than the specific action. Plant the seeds of commitment that will contribute to communicating that you truly care about nurturing their growth.

Give With No Strings Attached

Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton Business School, wrote in his book, Give or Take, that conventional wisdom portrays highly successful people as those who possess a combination of hard work, talent, and luck. He goes on to share the latest research reveals true success stems from being more interested in giving than receiving. Specifically, his research confirms leaders who consistently give more than they take, are ultimately the leaders who most frequently elevate performance, increase satisfaction and enhance engagement. Sow the seeds of selflessness that encourage your teammates to cultivate the same in others around them…like wheat in the field or apples in the orchard.

Nurture your fields of inclusion, commitment and selflessness and towards stronger mission accomplishment anchored with deep-roots of team potential. With simple actions, you can share self-multiplying power within your team. A single thought (acted upon), a single word (spoken), a selfless deed (done). Each of these actions are seeds with the potential to motivate those around you to stretch farther, reach higher, and grow stronger than they previously thought possible. Seeding leadership potential within your team reaps a bountiful harvest of returns that lasts beyond a single season.

With this in mind, I challenge you to ask yourself the following questions about your leadership: “What type of seeds am I planting as a leader?” I am very interested in hearing how you are seeding leadership potential within your team, your family and your community. Are you happy with your harvest…or are you facing a famine?

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Image credit: kartos / 123RF Stock Photo

 

Matthew T. Fritz

Associate Curator at General Leadership

Matthew T Fritz is a leader and mentor in the field of complex organizational change, emotional intelligence, and organization strategy. A successful DoD senior-acquisition program manager and test leader, Matt has earned documented success in the areas of test and evaluation, assessment, technology development and flight operations. He has specialized experience in cost, schedule and performance management and is an active duty Field-Grade Officer with command-experience in the United States Air Force. Matt is also a certified acquisition professional, as well as a certified Emotional Intelligence Trainer/Practitioner. He and his wife, Stacy, enjoy life with their daughter and son in California. You can learn more about Matt at his personal website, AdvancedVectors.com or on the leadership development site he co-founded at GeneralLeadership.com

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  • Carl D’Agostino

    Allowing others to flourish even more cultivating an atmosphere for that to occur is wise leadership policy. If people consider themselves stakeholders and contributors, harmony is fertilized. It also distributes blame for failure to all and for
    success to all as well. When the group has a sense of “we”, teamwork is inspired and delegating responsibility(with oversight) is a leadership skill as well. One example of this style is when President Truman had to address the collapse of Western Europe facing absorption by the Soviet Union at the end of WW2. Europe had to be rebuilt for its independent survival and for American security as well. We could not allow the replacement of fascist dictatorship by communist dictatorship. His secretary of state, Marshall, was apprehensive about this re cost and confrontation and ill directed involvement. Truman convinced Marshall to develop a plan and Truman called it the Marshall Plan and the rest is history. Harry did not care who got credit. He cared about results. He was like all the men in John F. Kennedy’s book: Profiles in Courage, placing country(think group) over self aggrandizement. His leadership is so worthily acclaimed. I was a great post and I enjoyed offering my participation with this comment. Regards.

    • http://www.GeneralLeadership.com/ Matthew Fritz

      Thank you, Carl! That’s an excellent example of how Shared Consequences–both positive and negative–provide an opportunity for buy-in. I believe we all work harder when we have “skin in the game,” and finding motivational ways to invest Teammates in the outcome of effort promotes unity, common focus, and (to a degree) self-vectoring. It’s far greater to be a part of a Team where the members provide positive reinforcement to one another, without overregulating creativity in the process, because they feel they have a stake in the victory the organization is striving for. Thanks again, Carl, for sharing your thoughts and provoking excellent conversation. Cheers!

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