Sometimes It’s Not Them, It’s The Soil

I’ve planted before. For those who know me, I have a brown thumb but miraculously this last time, it worked! I used this special soil that made it so I couldn’t drown the plants (which I probably do way too much), and they flourished. I also made sure my daughter and I watered or moved them as needed due to heat or what have you. Weeks later, we had mini plants! My husband was a little concerned at my enthusiasm or some green things that “would probably die anyways”.

People are like that, too.

I’ve known people who did not do well in one task but flourished in others. Wilted under specific management styles, and bloomed under different ones. Why? Because people have different ways that they handle and process information. They also have different story of origins or the vernacular term of “baggage”.

If you have someone under you who is struggling, do not be afraid to look at his or hers environment. Here are some examples that have nothing to do with leadership:

  • Do they get to interact with people? Is it causing them to be distracted or anxious? 
  • Is their work area neat and clean? Is it disorganized? What style works for them? 
  • Do they have a cheerful work area or is it plain? 
  • Do they have a open space where they can see others but still have a feeling of privacy? 

Here are some things that tie into leadership style:

  • Do they react negatively or “shut down” to criticism presented in a verbal way? Do they process better written? Or vice versa? 
  • Are your workflows, policies, and procedures outlined in a way that makes sense? Is there a audio version? Are there images? Have you asked? 
  • Does your environment allow for feedback to be given or questions ask? 
  • Are they on tasks that they are suited for? If they enjoy people, are they around people? If they work better staying focused on one task, do they have several at once? 

These things are important to not only disclose to someone up front but to ensure you are bringing them in as a good fit. If you don’t feel they are a good fit, don’t set them up for failure. Sometimes people do not do well not because they are being lazy or don’t want to but because they aren’t in the right soil to do so.


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