Nurture or Dismiss – A Leadership Principle

Growing up, my family used to have a lot of animals that would wonder into our yard. These animals would often come around for a few days and vanish the next week. However, occasionally a dog or a cat would wonder into the yard and stay around a little while. When this happened, our family had to make decision whether to keep the animal or take it to a shelter. When i was about 10 years old, a dog came around that I just couldn’t leave alone. Within a few weeks, I had taught this stray dog to sit, shake hands, and lay down on command. I had nurtured this dog from a homeless mutt into a well trained family pet.

In leadership, sometimes we’re faced with the decision to nurture or dismiss – a person, a project, a volunteer, a task, or an idea.

To nurture one of these things means that we still believe that it has potential, that we believe it’s worth our time, that we still see it’s value in the future.

It takes time to nurture something….

To take special time and gentle attention to help someone or something reach it’s full potential.
To develop an idea to its action step and think it out to its completion.

Sometimes, though, we need to dismiss the person, project, task, or idea.

Sometimes, it’s not worth our time to work on a task that isn’t going anywhere productive.
Some ideas, no matter how long they’re nurtured, aren’t going to develop into solid processes or creations.
Some people are going to be beyond or outside our area of expertise and need us to dismiss them so that someone else can develop them.

Don’t dismiss when you can nurture.

Lean towards being willing to nurture long before you consider dismissing.

After all,

That task could lead to something earth shaking.
That idea could change your organization or the world.
That person could be nurtured into a powerful leader.

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