You know the old carrot and stick routine. Employees should be rewarded with carrots and disciplined with the stick. Carrots for good behavior, great performance, outstanding service, and leadership qualities. Sticks for failure, disruptive behavior, slowness, and mediocrity. But…
What if you gave leaders the garden?
That’s right. The whole garden instead of just the carrots. Being somewhat of a gardener myself, I can tell you that gardening is hard, yet rewarding, work. There’s initial envisioning and planning to do, determing the layout, examining the dirt, picking the choice plants, sowing and tillling the land, eliminating pesky critters, checking the fruits of the labor, and reaping the harvest. A carrot is nothing. But a whole garden that required thought, sweat, and loving care? Ahhh. Talk about pride!
So what does this have to do with leaders and those aspiring to leadership?
What’s motivating is not the carrot but the whole garden.
Employees state, time and again, that they don’t want just the salary that comes along with a job. They want the opportunity to grow and develop their skills and talents. The only way this can be accomplished is by giving them the work of the garden–from creation to harvest, from imagination to result.
Employees want a say when it comes to designing goals and projects. They want a part in the planning and execution. They need–get this–the opportunity to fail. When you hand over work to your people, and allow them to own it for themselves, they become motivated and inspired.
When people own for themselves the work that they do, especially when the work aligns with their talents and passions, the results go beyond what was hoped.
True leadership is not about management but about inspiring and motivating others toward a common vision. By giving people the garden, they’ll never go hungry again.