One morning last week, we woke to heavy frost glazing our grass in sheaths of white. My daughters, who typically eschew warm clothing, snuggled into their heavy coats and gloves in the crisp mornings before school.

Winter is definitely on its way. This week, though, the forecast where I live looks sunny, with temperatures around 60 degrees every day. I plan to make the most of the warm days and get outside to plant some bulbs, lowering each into the ground with a hope that it will burst forth in early spring.

After 8 years in the city, where I routinely planted annuals in window boxes to see them shrivel and wilt with neglect, I don’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to garden. Planting bulbs, though, seems foolproof. I plant the bulbs, and they bloom, year after year: crocuses first; then daffodils, and finally, tulips.

At least I hope so.

Are you a gardener? Leaders can be gardeners when they decide to make a difference by cultivating the people in their their lives.

Leaders within organization have the unique opportunity to wield great influence in people’s lives and careers. They may plant individuals in positions – like so many flowers my window boxes – and leave them to wither, or they may carefully nuture and encourage them, their kind direction and guidance as much needed water.

How can leaders provide the right amount of sun and shade? Know when to trim back, what support to provide to fledging plants?

It seems to me to be a mix of science and art. The science is matching people to positions. The art is blending people within your organization so they work together well, harmonious and complementary.

As a leader, you have the opportunity to make everything in your garden thrive and blossom.

What can you do today to cultivate others?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is reposted with permission.