I decided to dabble into gardening. So I went to a nursery for the first time and bought a few plants, vegetables, flowers, etc. As I embarked on my gardening journey, I carefully researched what is required to successfully grow them. Varying spectrums of sunlight, water, soil, etc. After I did my research, I began my planting. A few days went by and I started to grow impatient.
- Why aren’t they growing fast enough?
- Are they getting enough sunlight?
- Am I taking care of them properly?
I then noticed one of the plants wasn’t rooted properly. It was slightly slanted, yet it was still growing. I decided to let it be. Fast forward, the plants are growing and the one slanted plant is maturing, but doing so lopsided. I want to fix it, but the plant is bigger and heavier now. Had I fixed it before it started to build on its original shape, it would have been a quick job. Now, I need to re-plant it and help it to grow straight.
This experience reminds me of ourselves as leaders.
Grow Your Leaders
When we are new leaders, we start with a clean slate. Similar to my baby plants, it was much easier to build a solid foundation in the beginning. And once I invested the appropriate time upfront, they are now self-sufficient and thriving. With the one plant I decided to ignore, the issues compounded. The roots dug deeper into the ground, the plant kept growing, but in doing so, it impacted the plants surrounding it.
This is something we see with leaders day in and out. When a leader starts to exhibit poor habits, and no action is taken, those habits continue to grow. When the organization finally decides to do something, it takes a lot more time, energy, and resources to correct.
The obvious answer is we should invest the time upfront to build a strong foundation and teach the right habits earlier on to our new and emerging leaders. But in reality, this is rarely the case.
Invest In Your Leaders Early On
Coaching was founded with the premise of investing in those who hold high executive positions. Those who are in this position have been managing for years and their habits – good and bad – have gone unsupported. For better or worse, this is how they’ve grown and if we want to make changes, it takes too long. We have to shift this mindset and invest in our leaders earlier on.
Before the foundation starts to solidify and the roots dig too deep, we should support our leaders with the individualized care and support they need to thrive in alignment with your team, culture and organization. A one-time training or workshop isn’t going to be enough for emerging leaders. That’s only a starting point.
Grow Your Leaders Through Coaching
Just like the plants who have various needs such as sunlight, water, food, our leaders require unique and personalized support. We have to develop a plan tailored to the leader rather than a one size fits all approach.
If you’ve been thinking about investing in to grow your leaders earlier on and want to explore what that might look like, schedule a call with me to discuss how to help your leaders thrive from the onset of their journey.
If you’re an individual ready for leadership development support and want your company to sponsor you, check out our article on how to get professional development budget from your employer here and try our get coaching budget module out if you need help crafting the ask.