When it comes to helping your staff grow, nurture is key, and how we do this is important to think about.

Last Friday I gave a talk at London Business School to help launch their report on Employee Centered Management with HCL (a hugely inspirational Indian IT company). More on that to come. But I was really taken by a blog by Zoe Bunter, in response to what I said about the focus of management being about making people happy. Here’s an extract:

Are you a good gardener?, a blog by Zoe Bunter

So, surely leadership is about creating the right environment to enable people to use, express and give what is already inside of them. I recently gave a presentation about leadership where I planted a sunflower seed. A sunflower seed doesn’t need to be told how to become a sunflower. It doesn’t need training to develop from a tiny unpromising-looking small hard thing into a beautiful, astonishingly large, bright yellow flower. It has all that potential and ability to realise this, inside of itself. What it does need though is the right environment.

It needs somewhere to put roots down – a healthy culture that will give it stability and sustenance as it grows. It needs nutrients and water to feed it and enable it to grow. It needs the light and warmth of the sun. In a similar way, we need a place to put roots down – a sense of belonging and the support of colleagues is very important to many of us. We need food and water – guidance, direction, the passion of others, their skills, challenges, new ideas and new approaches (to name but a few). And we need warmth and light – encouragement, care, support through the tough times, praise, appreciation, love – expressed in many, many different ways.”

For the full blog, and how great leaders nurture their people like gardeners nurture their plants, click here.

To “Give Freedom with Clear Guidelines”, and to allow staff and your people to “Play to Your Strengths” are two of the core principles of the Happy Manifesto.

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