I heard a nugget today that sounds simple but sums up much of what it takes to be an effective supervisor:  “Water your flowers and pull your weeds.”

New supervisors often struggle with one side of the equation. They either spend all of their time on their problem employees and assume their stars will succeed on their own, or they encourage their high-performing staff members and hope the low-performers will come around. Neither is a good solution.

To create a desirable culture and empower your staff, you need to nurture those who show promise and deal with those who don’t – either by coaching them to meet your standards or by letting them go. It’s never easy to fire someone, but if all other avenues have been exhausted, it’s the necessary action for the good of the team. The more you allow them to linger, the more they will choke off the energy of those who would otherwise flower.

Treat your role as a supervisor like that of a dedicated gardener. You’re responsible for tending to everything that grows in your plot.



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