I can't help but continue to reflect on the idea of being mediocre due to the lack of safety to extend your wings and fly to see what is out there. I am amazed and will have to also say sad by how many people are able to relate to this concept of being confined to mediocrity and not being able to openly express their concerns and feelings because even the risk is too great to the toxic culture, relationships, and survival tactics of the workplace if a colleague or administrator would happen to read the words.
And yet we stand up in from of the students and lie to them about how important it is to stand up and do what is right when we cannot even live by these words due to fear. This is not placing blame on any particular person, position, or situation. The blame is spread evenly with everyone involved in a culture like this as we all feed into the ecosystem based on how we react and respond. I am acknowledging the reality of the conditions the workplace for so many.
I believe that for the most part, most leaders, bosses, and admin do allow their workers and staff to plant seeds in the garden.
Let me step backward a bit. Your work is a garden. Your boss is the owner of the garden plot. They own the property of the garden. Even though they own the garden, they don't plant the seeds. You do. The educator, your colleague, secretaries, custodial staff, paras, etc. You have the ability to plant a seed to blossom into something beautiful. The owners may be the owners of the land, but they are not gardeners per se and therefore up to you to grow the landscape.
There are two types of gardens being developed organizations:
If your seed begins to grow and blossom into an amazing idea, do you have to nurse the plant and hide it from the leader? Do you have to protect it by planting it in the shade so it is not noticed?
Do you work in a garden that allows you bring the plant out into the sunshine, feed it, and accelerate the growth?
If you pick either one realize something very important. These actions are not just the result of the master gardener(the boss), but by all the other gardeners who watch and judge the other plants(your colleagues).
Leaders are in charge of the ecosystem that allows innovation to grow and develop properly or not at all. But, even more important are the other gardeners. Are you working together to support one another? Nurturing each plant? Sharing the resources to allow everyone to thrive? Seeing that a garden is beautiful with lots of different plants and flowers instead of all flowers that are just like you?
Or are you competing and turning your flowers into weeds to suffocate everything around it creating a plague of negativity?
While it might be easy to point blame at the master gardener and while the culture of the garden stems from him/her, we can still create beauty within the garden if everyone works together instead of competing. If the garden becomes full of beauty and innovation the master gardener will be happy regardless of how they treat the garden. If the garden becomes ugly and full of weeds, then it only intensifies the anger of the master gardener and nobody will win when the weed kill is sprayed.
An ecosystem of innovation requires everyone to lend a hand and work together to create beauty.
So where will you plant your seed? And more importantly, how will you help the other seeds grow and develop?