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Success on the Fly

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 10th, 2013

Chris Waugh


What does being a leader mean to you? A simple yet complicated question, I know.

Think of most organizational charts. They look like a pyramid, so let’s visualize a pyramid. The manager is on the top, and is supported by those beneath him or her. All the work and support comes from the lower layers. The decisions come from the ivory tower and everything rolls down hill.

I don’t think of a pyramid as a living, growing entity.

Now reverse that pyramid - turn it upside down. It looks more like a tree. On a tree, the leaves still do all the work. But it’s the trunk and branches that provide the support and the conduit for the tree’s nourishment. Without this support, the leaves can’t get up high enough to use the sunlight and perform photosynthesis.

Think of your role as the leader. Like a tree trunk, you are the support and nourishment for the workers in your organization.

So, what does that mean?

By providing support, you hold up or enable your employees. You put them in a position where they can get their work done. You assist them in that work, looking for obstacles and helping them around them.

When you nourish them, you supply them with the strength and stamina to complete their tasks. Generously share information. Train and educate them for their jobs and for how best to work together. If the leaves aren’t nourished, the tree will die.

Supported and nourished leaves enable a tree to grow, and supported and nourished employees will enable your operation to thrive.

Here are some specific ways to think about support and nourishment for your organizational tree:

• Trees and organizations need a fertile environment to grow.

• Accept that your people are living beings, with emotional and physical needs.

• Think of holding them up in a position to do their job.

• See to it that they have the tools necessary to do their work.

• Share industry and local economical information with them.

• Provide the training they need to do their jobs with excellence.

• Show them how to work together as a team.

• Teach the mid-managers to be supporting and nourishing branches.

Even if your operation is seasonal, like a deciduous tree, if conditions are right the leaves will grow back in the spring.

Facebook.com/chriswaughonthefly for more. Chris Waugh is a business consultant, author and speaker who “lends wings to your success.” Visit ChrisWaugh.com or

For the complete article see the 04-10-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-10-2013 paper.

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