How to Take Care of Poinsettias (and Project Teams)

I recently had a friend ask me — since I have an agricultural background — how to take care of her Christmas poinsettia. She said, “The leaves have been turning yellow and falling off. I think I’m killing it.”

How to Take Care of Your Poinsettias (and Project Teams)

Poinsettias have a reputation for being hard to maintain. I asked a few questions such as:

  • How many hours of sunlight has the plant been getting?
  • What’s the temperature in your house?
  • When and how are you watering the plant?
  • Are you fertilizing the plant? If so, how much?

Based on her answers, I knew the primary problem was insufficient light. Poinsettias like six to eight hours of filtered sunlight and temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, water the plants when dry to touch, and drain the saucer. What about fertilization? No fertilizer is required when the plant is in bloom. Want to know more?

Are Your Team’s Leaves Turning Yellow?

You may have the best intentions, but you may be over managing and killing your team. How can we revive and maintain a healthy team?

First, it would be helpful if you knew your team’s thoughts of your leadership and management. Ask and listen carefully. You might ask a few team members one-on-one, “Hey, I’m looking for ways to lead more effectively. Would you mind answering a few quick questions?”

  • What should I do more of?
  • What should I do less of?
  • What should I continue?

Ultimately, you’ll have to determine your actions going forward, but you may be missing some simple things that could make a big impact. Just the fact that you would ask these questions would speak volumes. Leaders are intentional in creating a vibrant culture and involve others in that culture.

“What most people want in a leader is something that’s very difficult to find: we want someone who listens.” –Seth Godin

Second, consider what the team needs to do their jobs and how well they are working together. Here are some additional questions you may ask:

  • Do you understand the goals of the project?
  • Do you have the tools you need?
  • Do you clearly understand your role and responsibilities?
  • How’s the chemistry of the team? What could make it better?
  • How can I improve the communication?

Taking Action

After carefully considering the needs of your team, develop a simple plan to put in action. You may find yourself doing less and getting better results. And keep in mind — teams, like plants, need consistent care to flourish. Best wishes!

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