Use compassion and kindness when correcting someone

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Are you a lumberjack—or a gardener? Weird question, I know. Stay with me; your answer determines your leadership style when correcting behavior. One of the two uses compassion and kindness. Can you guess which?

A lumberjack cuts trees down to the ground with broad strokes of their ax. They swing hard and fast to clear the forest.

Leaders act like lumberjacks when they cut people down to size for the mistakes they make.

A gardener takes a more gentle approach. They carefully prune and shape plants, helping them grow steady and strong.

Leaders act like gardeners when they approach mistakes with a growth mindset of compassion and kindness.

Which do you think is a more productive method for leaders? If you answered “gardener,” you’re correct. When you approach corrections with generosity, your team will be more receptive and open to learning. You’ll also build a strong foundation of trust.

Think of the last time you corrected someone. Were you the lumberjack—or the gardener?