Nothing grows under the banyan tree

This is an old Indian saying. The banyan tree provides shade and is comfortable, but also no sun is for growth. Many leaders are banyan trees; to protect and shield their people but nothing grows under them.

Many leaders also do this with good intention, however, the impact is quite diminishing for both the teams and the organisation. As it may come across that the leader distrusts the judgement and capabilities of others. If you are a 'saviour' or a 'mother hen' type of leader you condition your people to be dependent which decreases ownership, proactiveness, initiative taking within your organisation.

What might cause you to become a banyan tree?

  • you get agitated and impatient
  • you want things done in your way
  • you want to be liked by your own people
  • you want to feed your self-importance, and your ego
  • you want to be right (all or most of the time) otherwise you are afraid of coming across as a weak leader
  • you want control

What can you do to avoid of becoming a banyan tree?

  • remove the barriers that block the growth of intelligence and capabilities in your people
  • get out of the way of your team and keep reminding yourself to get out of the way of your team
  • empower your team, take people with you and give them space for exposure
  • give them opportunities to shine within the organisation
  • give them opportunities to fail and help them to learn from it
  • step back physically
  • be more of a coaching type of leader

If you seek to lead, your ability will ultimately be measured in the successes of those around you. Therefore, it is essential to let the sunshine and the rain fall onto your people in order to grow and thrive.

  • When was the last time when you got in the way of your people? (I am sure there was!) What did you do and say? How can you avoid of doing it again?
  • In what situation you tend to act as a banyan tree for your people? What experience and learning you deprive them of due to your shielding?

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