Are You Chopping Down Trees?

If you are a regular reader of my blog then you will be (probably boringly) familiar with the fact that the Hutchison tribe recently moved house.  We are very happy with our new abode, but my lovely other half was not too impressed with an apparently dry bunch of sticks posing as a tree in the back garden.  He was keen to chop it down and get rid of the eyesore he saw before him, and I almost agreed.

But then I really looked at it, and I could see that it was not in fact, dead.  It had buds coming and it was only dormant – waiting for its time to shine.  I could almost see it in my minds eye in its full glory – and me sitting in the shade of it in the summer, with a glass of something, watching the children playing.

And so, I asked him not to chop it down, but to leave it, to trust me that it would flourish.  And if it didn’t – well then – he was free to chop it down and dispose of it as he saw fit.

And it made me think of being a manager.  It reminded of one time when I was an Inspector in the Police Service and I had a police officer who one of my sergeants wanted to axe.  They believed that there was nothing there, that this person was not making the grade and that they should go.

Well, if you want to know what happened to the tree, and why it reminded me of this person, just look at the picture. Yes, that is the beautiful, in fact, stunning tree in my garden.  That is not just any old tree, that is one fabulous Arbor (Latin name for tree – sorry just seems like the sort of tree that deserves a fancier name!!).

That tree, reminds me so much of the situation with that officer.  The sergeant was right – they were not performing or showing much outward sign of being ABLE to perform in the role.  However, I was fairly new to this person and didn’t know much about them and therefore was keen to get more information before making a decision about their future.  In conversation with the sergeant it seemed to me (without going into detail which might identify the innocent), that this person had just had a bad start.

They had not had the usual encouragement and some personal issues had left them a bit distracted and slightly lacking in confidence.

Together with the sergeant, we put in place a training programme and some one to one time, to give the team member the knowledge and more importantly, the encouragement of having their boss (the sergeant) believe in them – and you should have seen the results.

Look at the tree and imagine it’s a person.  That was the result.

Situations like these are what encouraged me to develop the Team Performance Engine, to help leaders see past the dry sticks, and see the potential of their individuals.  And not only see it but also be able to tap into it and turn it into a reality that everyone can see.

So I ask you today – are you giving your people enough time to flourish, are you giving them the space and the environment they need to flourish, or are you judging them too soon because you don’t see their potential?

If you would like to know more about our training programs built on the Team Performance Engine – drop me an email to [email protected] and let’s have a chat.



One thought on “Are You Chopping Down Trees?

  1. A great metaphor Julie that all bosses need to understand. Your solution was good for mental health as well as work performance relationships, as a lesson for the Sargent. Too many good people are lost from services, businesses and education (including students who fail and become depressed) because of lack of understanding by bosses and teachers. Bosses and teachers need to be trained and coached too.

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