Green is Good
I lived the dream this summer…. tomatoes fresh off the vine right in my own yard.
A bit silly to get so excited over such a simple wonder of nature?
Not for me.
Watching my two little plants grow from less than a foot tall to producing a steady stream of one of my favorite vegetables (OK, scientifically: fruits) has brought an amazing amount of joy and saved a considerable amount of money at the grocery store.
But the end of September has been surprising….SO many of my tasty treats haven’t fully ripened.
Mistakenly, I believed that the extreme heat we’ve had this summer would speed up the ripening process. Apparently, it does just the opposite.
What to do with my two plants now literally loaded with green tomatoes?? (click here for a pic)
It seems wrong to just toss them.
So, I googled it.
And, I discovered numerous recipes for fried green tomatoes (never had one but that’s about to change).
But, the unexpected?
There are recipes for green tomato soup, cake, pie, bread, pasta toss and… mincemeat.
I could stay busy in the kitchen for weeks!
What I really want is more red tomatoes, so I dug a little deeper.
Putting a banana in a box with green tomatoes actually produces a ripening gas called ethylene.
I figure it’s worth a try.
Interestingly, as I was in the middle of this riveting research some other thoughts bubbled up…. about leadership.
Dave and Phil, the guys who replaced my humming refrigerator last week.
10:00 a.m. on delivery day was incredibly hot and humid; sweat pouring I questioned… “What does the rest of your day look like?
Their reply shocked me:
They average 47-50 deliveries a day, using 5 teams
12,000 deliveries last year; on pace to beat that this year
I was exhausted just thinking about it…. and curious.
What do you like about what you do?
Dave had been a manager for another company but an inferior product and inconsistent workers left him frustrated …. so, he left.
Phil, had worked for a landscaping company; series of unfortunate events… so he left.
Both men are now literally, physically expending themselves every day, but happier.
In their words, “They now have a great manager who takes care of people.”
I pressed for more and Phil said, “He’s the best boss I’ve had because he handles things and doesn’t lose his temper.”
It sounds so simplistic; watch your words and all is well.
It’s quite complex.
Because controlling one’s temper (and tongue) means:
mastering one’s emotions
considering another’s perspective
seeing the big picture
asking, “What am I missing?”
balancing more than just the “bottom line”
…and doing all of that well requires remarkable self-leadership.
Tricky thing…. self-leadership.
In fact, John Maxwell describes it as “the easiest, hardest” kind of leadership.
But the leader who “gets” that…. gets something else: respect.
Unfortunately, leaders who don’t understand how to temper their temper… negatively impact a team in the same way hot temperatures negatively impact the ripening of tomatoes; they shut down growth.
I was initially disappointed in my green tomatoes.
What good could they possibly be?
Fortunately, I discovered they have merits of their own… I just needed to see them from a different perspective.
And so it is with…. people.
What I’m learning?
Just because someone says, does or thinks in a way that is “not my red” perspective…. doesn’t mean their “green” is wrong or bad.
Their more analytical mind means they’ll see what I don’t when it comes to data and spreadsheets.
And that may be exactly what I need…
Like the way my green tomatoes are exposing me to culinary delights I’ve yet to imagine.
Savvy leaders understand that putting younger leaders in close proximity to those more seasoned will have the same impact a banana has on green tomatoes; improving the ripening process.
And knowing they’re technically fruits, they’ll exercise wisdom by keeping tomatoes out of a fruit salad!
Funny, how pondering tomato plants produced such an unexpected harvest in my mind.
I’m actually believing… green is good!