What Weeding a Flower Bed Reminded Me About Leadership

I have been in Nashville TN for the last several days on a business trip. Though I wrapped up late yesterday afternoon, I planned some extra time with my mother, who lives about 20 miles from Nashville. We went out for dinner last night and I asked her what she needed doing around the house.

This is the first time I have been back “home” since my father passed away and was buried in early March. Though my mother and I talk several times each week, I knew that there were things to do for her.

Consequently, by mid-morning I found myself pulling weeds in the numerous flower gardens around the house. Both my parents liked flowers and the wildlife they attracted. My dad in particular, was what you might call a natural gardener when it came to flowers. He didn’t believe in formal landscapes and flower beds “just so.” His method was more “that looks like a good place for a few flowers.”

As I was working in around the flower beds all morning, I was reminded of the countless times I had seen my dad as he was going from one place to another in our yard just stop and pull a weed out and toss it on the ground – to be chopped up by the mower later. There wasn’t a rhyme or reason to his actions; it was just something he did.

Small consistent actions over time make a big difference.

My dad had been in declining health since late last year, and had not been able to be out in the yard, there was a lot to do. By noon I was ready for a break. Sitting and drinking several glasses of water I thought about my Dad and how his constant weeding meant that the flower gardens looked pretty good all of the time; now, they looked overgrown.

I’m certainly nowhere near the gardener my Dad was. My several hours of work will make them look good for a few weeks maybe, and then they will have to be weeded again.

But once again, my Dad is my teacher.

Leaders need to understand that consistent, small actions invested in your team will pay big dividends along the journey.

Thanks, Dad.

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