First a quote: “Become the kind of leader people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.” – Brian Tracy
Did you know young sunflower blooms follow the sun across the sky every day until they are fully mature? I certainly didn’t. However, I noticed the phenomenon on a 2-week road trip I took with my dad across the western United States in late summer three years ago.
As we passed fields of commercial sunflower crops in the morning, I noticed every single bloom was facing east in the direction of the sun. It was as if they were standing at attention and ready for whatever the day might bring. I didn’t give it much thought until I made another observation about those blossoms in late afternoon; they all faced west in the direction of the setting sun.
The next day, I paid attention throughout the day… sure enough, entire fields of sunflower blossoms followed the sun across the sky from east to west! Absolutely amazing! At least I thought so. I was curious enough to do a little research which confirmed my observations to be true.
There seem to be several scientific theories behind this phenomenon, but one thing is for sure, the blossoms are attracted too, and follow, the warm energy of the sun across the summer sky. (Those of you with house plants already know how plants will grow in the direction of sunlight.)
I submit there are leadership lessons to be learned from Mother Nature about the power of not only the sun, but of warm, positive, growth-stimulating, life-giving energy. As leaders, the energy we radiate will either attract people, turn them off or worse yet, turn them away! Our style and approach to leadership can either be energizing on one end of the spectrum or completely stifling and paralyzing on the other. This is an important leadership concept!
In today’s competitive environment, our organizations must attract and retain the “best & brightest” if we are to not only survive, but flourish and grow, well into the future. As leaders, we must lead in such a way that the “best & brightest” want to work with us and support our organizational mission and vision. If you’re following the generational trends in the workplace, you already know many people from Gen Y and Z tend to value leaders who are willing to make an investment in their growth and personal development.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do people have to work with me because I’m their boss with a title and implied position power?
- Or, do people get to work with me, because of the positive energy fostered in, and by, my style and approach to leadership? Am I a filler or a drainer? Click here to read: Filler or Drainer? Which are You?
- Are people in my area of responsibility growing, learning, excited and energized?
- Does my leadership style and energy inspire the vast amounts of untapped discretionary effort that resides within every person on our team?
If given a choice, would I follow someone like me across the sky like sunflowers in the summer sun?
How will you help people flourish and feel engaged and energized this week? How will you lead differently, or better this week? Now is the time to give that question a little thought.
Have a great week!
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”