Search the site

Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


The Gardner’s Job

One of the Habitudes in our series is called, “The Gardener’s Job.”

It simply reminds leaders that in the same way a gardener understands her primary job is to cultivate the soil and grow the plants in her garden, leaders must see their primary job as growing the people under their care. It isn’t just about doing a program or distributing a product, but developing a person.

Gardeners know that growing plants involves soil, rain, sunshine, fertilizer, and pulling the weeds around those plants. How are you doing with these activities as a leader:

Soil – How is the culture and environment of your workplace or campus? Is it healthy?
Rain – Do you allow for rainstorms to strengthen your team?
Sunshine – Do you provide encouragement and motivation for them?
Fertilizer – Do you equip and feed your team members to do their work?
Pulling weeds – Do you remove toxic elements (people or events) that would harm them?

Your top job is growing people.

This June, we are committing two days to this theme. Our National Leadership Forum’s theme: “Develop—Cultivating Growth, Engagement and Success in Students.”  We aren’t just hosting an event. We are inciting a conversation that is long overdue. It will be extremely interactive. We will load up participants with ideas from the best schools, organizations and churches in America.

Check it out at:



  1. Guest on February 25, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Firstly let me say that I heard you for the first time on the catalyst podcast recently. Your views on training the upcoming generation are impressive and in my opinion pretty accurate. Your book is on my wish list.

    In regards to your post, I’m wondering what you are referring to when you say, “Do you allow for rainstorms to strengthen your team?”

    Are you referring to your team going through a hard time and coming out the other side with a stronger bond having helped each other in the process?

    • Tim Elmore on February 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Jamie –

      Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the Catalyst podcast.

      In reference to your question about rainstorms – yes. I am referring to a rainstorm as those times where a team might experience a crisis, bump in the road, or just a difficult situation. It’s important as a leader to take those moments and use them as times to strengthen and build your team. They are great moments to have your team discuss what might have caused the situation, how to move forward to get through the “rainstorm” and how you might all learn from it as you move forward. We here at Growing Leaders will have random rainstorms from time to time. I love those moments because no matter how hard they might be, it really is a chance for us all to grow and strengthen as a team.

      • Guest on February 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm


        I understand, thank you for your response. I’m an Irish citizen but have lived in the US for two years now and have been amazed at people such as yourself that will invest time and energy into helping people grow.

        I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

Leave a Comment

The Gardner's Job