Good Leaders Produce Good Fruit

Below is a short story on leadership.

Susan Carson answered her phone.  On the other end was an exasperated Diane Smith.  Diane was a mid-level manager that reported to Susan.  Diane had three team members that reported directly to her.  Susan had a gut feeling that Diane’s frustration was stemming from a run in with one of her team members.

“Susan, I just do not know what to do about Jim!  I do not think he is the right person for the job!”, Diane exclaimed.

As Diane continued to give all the reasons why Jim was not the right person for the job; Susan was thinking that I get this call from Diane every couple of months about one of her team members.  Besides, Jim had only been there 60 days.  How could he be so drastically different from the great person Diane described when she decided to hire him?  Susan had supported Diane in her decisions to hire and terminate team members but this was beginning to become a pattern.  When Diane was finished with her diatribe on Jim,  Susan asked her a question.

“What type of fruit do you bear?”, Susan asked.Good Leaders Produce Good Fruit

After a few seconds of dead silence Diane answered.  “What are you talking about?”

Susan answered.  “You can always tell a good leaders by the fruit they produce.  What type of fruit have you produced from the team that you lead?”

Diane paused again.  “What do you mean by fruit”

Susan answered.  “Your job as a leader is to hire, train, and nurture your team.  If you do a good job you will produce fruit.  By fruit I mean highly trained, motivated, productive, and promotable team members.  You have three positions on your team.  Over the last 12 months you have turned over two of those positions twice.  Now you are telling me that another team member you just hired less than 60 days ago is not working out.  As your leader I am evaluating you based on your ability to lead your team.  Based on the amount of turnover you have experienced,  how do you think I should evaluate your performance?”
“I guess I have not looked at it that way.  But what am I suppose to do when people do not do their job?” , Diane asked.

“Diane, I think you have to ask yourself a different question.  Good leaders ask themselves what role they played when things go bad.  I’m not sure if you are not hiring the right people or failing to nurture and train, but there is an issue.  I want you to take the afternoon to think about what role you have played and what you might be able to do differently.  Once you discover what you can do differently we can talk about Jim.”

As leaders it is our responsibility to produce good fruit(highly trained, motivated , productive, and promotable team members).  Think about the last five individuals you managed.   Are they good fruit?

About Kareem Slater

Kareem Slater is a leadership coach, trainer, & speaker. Founder of The Purple Approach. Helps organizations lead and engage their team by focusing on their Mission Statement and Core Values. Uses his passion to help others grow their leadership skills and accomplish their career goals.

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