"Spring" Your Leadership To The Next Level

The Vernal Equinox occurring in the US and Canada on Monday March 20 marks the official start of spring. As one who loves to see things grow, this time of year holds tremendous promise as I start my garden, nurture existing plants, and tackle the ever-present weeds that have been growing for some time.

I've written in the past how successful leaders need to be gardeners. With that in mind, what might you do differently in your work if you looked at March 20 as marking a period of renewal and growth for you and your team? Some actions might include:

Sharpening some tools you haven't used in awhile.
Reflect on any skills, models, or certifications you have employed in the past. It could be anything from emotional intelligence to active listening or even using the Pomodoro Technique. With all the busyness that can invade our work day, it's easy to forget to use these "tools" that can improve our ability to lead and get the right work done.

Removing some weeds from your work day.
The list could be long, but start by asking yourself this question: "What consistently hinders me from working on my highest priorities?" It may be a negative routine you have developed in the "winter" of maintaining the status quo, or allowing yourself to be easily distracted by the crisis of the moment. For more on managing distractions, check out my article, Nine Quick Ways To Minimize Workplace Distractions.

Starting some new seeds.
Spend some time reflecting on the goals you have for your team. What new actions could you (or they) take to accelerate your progress? And remember, for any seed to grow, it needs four critical things:

  • Sunlight. Your ideas have to be able to "see the light of day." In other words, they have to become a priority among the 37 other things vying for your attention.
  • Soil. Just as seeds need the right environment to grow, your ideas have to land in a team culture that supports growth in your desired direction.
  • Resources. For seeds it's water and nutrients. For your ideas, it might be time, training, or information.
  • Temperature. Without the proper temperature, seeds won't germinate and begin to grow. The same is true of new ideas or change. You have to find a way to raise the temperature (i.e. create a sense of urgency) for your team members to think or act differently.

Breaking ground for someone else.
One of my opportunities every spring is to help others prepare their garden. Without breaking up the soil compacted by winter weather and removing the weeds, they would have a tough time growing anything. Look around you. Who is someone who needs your guidance, advice, or mentoring to "grow" as a leader? How could you help them cultivate greater success in their leadership role this spring?

Soon these marvelous days of renewal will transform into summer and then fall will arrive before we realize it. What will you have done this spring as a leader to ensure an abundant harvest of success awaits you?

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.
-Chinese Proverb