This post is taken from my blog "Notes from the workplace garden" where I analyse how creating a great organisation is like creating a great garden.

It is very easy as a leader, or a gardener, to get caught up in the details and forget what it is you are trying to achieve in the big picture. We can easily obsess about minor issues, like the weeding or pruning when, from a distance, everything looks fine. We just need to take a step back to see the big picture rather than focussing on the smaller details or we will wear ourselves out! If the garden starts to become a burden, something we must attend to rather than something we enjoy attending to, then maybe it is time to consider why you continue to garden. Maybe a smaller plot might be a god idea or a different style of garden that doesn’t require so much of your time.


As leaders we also worry over small things that, from a distance, no one else can notice. A good leader is someone who can regularly take a step back to see the bigger picture rather than getting caught up in the small things. By remembering what it is you are trying to achieve overall, the task of prioritising your time and energy is made a lot easier. Leaders also need to watch out for the signs that they need to take a break from leading. That could be in the form of a holiday, a special project or stepping aside to let someone else lead for a while. Just because you need a break doesn’t mean you have given up. It just means you are able to assess the situation and take the appropriate action, returning to a leadership role when the time is right.

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