When you hear the word “Cultivate” what are your thoughts? Do you think of gardening? Or do you think of personal development or gaining knowledge through education? In its definition all three are correct.
I am a gardener and I appreciate the work involved in growing a garden. Some I grow for beauty and others for food. Either way, it takes work to learn, to apply, and to share the fruit of the labor.
I realize, just like the gardener, I am cultivating a life of my own, and creating opportunities to plant, sow, and watch others grow. Learning is the key to any growth; we need to have good teachers/ leaders in our lives in order to thrive and serve.
In the book ‘The Courage to Teach” Parker Palmer states, “To be a teacher takes courage. The courage to teach is the courage to keep one’s heart open in the very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able, so the teacher, student and subject can be woven into the fabric of community that learning and living require.(pg.12). Reading these words stirs my heart mind and soul in that, what I learn, emulate, and speak into others’ lives matter. My response becomes a responsibility to the “fabric of the community” that I live, work, and lead in.
There are many aspects to leadership and many ways to lead, however I believe that there is once particular aspect / characteristic vital to leadership – Letting others learn and grow. For many leaders this can be a hard thing to do. I know I have struggled from time to time. Sometimes it is easier to direct and expect them to do it, just because you are the one in charge. There are times when that is necessary, however if you want long lasting results, happier people, and a better sense of community, the following characteristics of leadership will produce better results
- Be a Listener- Create a space to listen to those around you with your heart, mind, and soul connected.
- Be a Servant – Serve first, lead second, find out what others need to be successful, and then help them achieve it.
- Be a Collaborator- Empower each other to work together, contribute ideas, for the good of the group, team, community or organization.
Integrating these three simple ideas can make a significant difference in your leadership skills. I know in my own life it has helped me to awaken my own learning and growing and given me opportunities to Cultivate others to do the same.