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Growing Your Employees & Your Cacti

With today’s fast-paced environment and growing demand for human capital, more and more employees are rising the ranks into managerial roles, faced with the reality of finding the right balance of control and confidence in their teams. Newfound managers turn to journals, articles, and reviews for guidance when they already practice management in their everyday lives.

Take, for instance, the cactus, a strong and independent succulent that thrives in harsh climates, protected by its spiny shell. Through proper care and nurturing, this organism can blossom into a spectacular sight and contribute to the biodiversity of the greater desert ecosystem. In many ways, growing cacti is very similar to growing and developing employees in the workplace today.

“Take the rose—most people think it very beautiful: I don’t care for It at all. I prefer the cactus, for the simple reason that it has a more interesting personality. It has wonderfully adapted itself to its surroundings! It is the best illustration of the theory of evolution in plant life.” - Charles Proteus Steinmetz

1. Creating an Optimal Environment

Like a cactus, growing and developing your employees require creating an optimal environment for its success. It’s a common myth that cactus can survive in any environment, however, as resilient as they are, growing cacti require careful cultivation and consideration into the surrounding area.

That means balancing temperature, soil, sunlight, humidity, and more. With employees, it’s key to not only focus on the employee but also create an environment that the employee can thrive in. There’s a difference between sustaining and thriving.

2. Delivering the Right Level of Support

Another frequent myth of cacti is that they don’t need to be watered. Like any plant, water is essential to their survival and since rain isn’t a common occurrence indoors, providing water to your cacti is a must.

On the same spectrum, leaving employees alone is often counterproductive, like a cactus, they may independent, but they still require guidance and support watering them in order to grow.

At the same time, the number one cause of death for indoor cacti is overwatering. Be aware of how often you’re meeting with and supporting your staff, too much and nothing will get done, too little and they’ll wither away. Finding a balance is key.

3. No Two Cacti Are the Same

There are over 2,000 species of cacti in the world and while many are similar in attributes, they each have their own unique qualities for their species and for each individual succulent. While there are broad guidelines and norms for growing cacti in general, it’s vital to take a holistic approach in assessing and understanding cacti.

With employees, general management tips and advice may work but to be effective, you’ll need to dive in and tailor your approach and style relative to your relationship, engagement, and environment with the employee.


The Bottom Line

Management principles and lessons can be found in nearly all aspects of life.

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