Not a Mushroom*

Posted by jlubans on December 20, 2021

Caption: My Christmas Cactus, December 16 2021

Its amazing what some plants (and people) will do when left alone.
Its been two years since my Christmas cactus last blossomed. Id pretty much given up, even gave serious thought (for about 5 minutes) to following the popular gardening advice of covering the plant with a black bag for a dozen hours each day for 6-8 weeks. Too much trouble.
Instead, I let it do its own thing. Gloriously.
Of course, I kept the plant in a temperate zone. I watered it. I talked to it, and lifted its stems to see how it was feeling.
But, the blossoming was all up to the plant.
What about people in the workplace?
A few can be left alone with minimal guidance and support. They are the self-directed. The last thing they needed from me was micromanagement. When they produced, it was like the cactus blossoms in the picture.
However, my favored technique of leaving people alone just did not work with everyone, especially those who needed daily supervision and guidance.
So, as much as I preferred cage-free management, my personal style of supervision did not fit all.
While some responded well to my feedback when I offered it - others simply went on as always regardless of my efforts to inspire or motivate.
Their performance was adequate but hardly thrilling.
The leaders job is to know when to intervene and who to leave alone.
What did I know about the Christmas cactus? Enough to let it go its own way.
I suspect most office workers would benefit from a little prompting. Some, from a lot. And, if this latter group protests the increased oversight, well, that may be the necessary push for them to move on and find a better fit elsewhere.
Had I applied the suggested cactus regimen to some of my recalcitrants: keep them in a dark place with a bag over their heads, limit water and lower the temperature, Id be sure to have
HR knocking on my door for once, for good cause.

*As in they keep us in the dark and feed us shit, a meme of the modern office.

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Copyright photo and text by John Lubans 2021

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