Many years ago, I had a chance to visit a friend’s farm on a weekend. My friend owned a huge farm on the outskirts of the city where they had employed farmers. A farmer’s outcome was quality of the crop. To ensure this, the farmer worked the soil, got the best seeds from the marketplace, sowed them all and watered them with great care. When these crops grew, he would nurture the growth of each crop. Farmers have to wait for months before seeds turn into standing crop. Certain situations (like weather, timely rain etc.) are out of their control, but farmers have to be eternally optimistic that crops will grow and yield the desired results. He did just that by extending a lot of human care to the crops.
Aren’t leaders farmers too? Leaders do to people what the farmer did to crops. Cultivate them to deliver desired outcomes. ‘Cultivate‘ is used mostly in agricultural context, but its real meaning is “foster the growth of“.
A leaders outcome is the quality of their team’s outcome. To ensure this, a leader has to get best people, work on them, understand them, share the vision, align their actions, get the best of them, communicate often and nurture their performance with great care. Leaders know that they may have to wait for long before people deliver desired outcomes. Certain situations are still out of a leader’s control, but a leader too, has to be eternally optimistic about people and their potential. I was thinking that if a farmer can extend human care to a crop, isn’t it absolutely must for leaders to see/treat their team members as ‘humans’ and not just ‘resources’?
That’s my take away for today: Great leaders are farmers – cultivators of human potential.