Written by Cory Blair, Chief People Officer


So by now you have seen that we the Affective crew believe in leadership.  Real leadership, not all this gimmick crap we see in text books, or HR software systems.  We believe in servant leadership.  We believe that true leaders serve others.  They care.  They actually VALUE the people they lead. 

I always try to spread the word of our Affective consulting business to people I know or randomly meet.  Its interesting to learn of different ways people actually lead in everyday life.  I have worked in government and I have also done consulting in the private industry.  There are always examples of bad leadership and sometimes you hear and see things that are examples of REAL leadership.  Servant leadership.

My good friend and neighbour Dave Stewart, is the Vice President of Intragrain Technologies here in Regina.  It is a small firm that designs and implements grain temperature sensors and wireless grain monitors for stored grains.  It is a really cool start up business that continues to grow and expand beyond Saskatchewan.

The leadership team at Intragrain believe in their staff.  A lot.  They celebrate their skills and value their different cultural backgrounds.  Dave and I talk leadership and I love hearing about all the stuff they do with their staff.  The latest was carving pumpkins!

Principle #9 in servant leadership is stewardship.  Stewardship means truly caring and having a deep sense of responsibility of the lives we touch through servant leadership.   We are cognizant of the fact that our people are someone of value and importance in the community.

So what the heck does carving a pumpkin have to do with stewardship???

Many of Intragrain’s employees are first generation Canadians, having immigrated to Saskatchewan from other places around the globe in search of a better life.  Some have never been apart of or seen the celebration of Halloween.  So for a couple hours on a Tuesday, the staff at Intragrain had a pumpkin carving contest.  And what did they think of the experience? They LOVED IT! 

They were so engaged, it was a new experience, they felt something exciting and fun.  They felt valued!!  They felt like they were being given the opportunity to be a part of the bigger picture in their organization.  They felt like a part of the community.  The pumpkin carving had nothing to do with grain sensors or purchase orders, but more with being human and building relationships through experiences.  Serving others happens in the little things we do as leaders.  A simple thing like carving a pumpkin is a prime example of great leadership.

From what I hear the staff also get to bring their different cultures to work.  After Dave told me about the pumpkin carving, he was telling me they always invite their staff to bring in different dishes for lunches.  They also celebrate different customs and holidays that their staff are proud of and promote staff to be themselves.   Intragrain isn’t just trying to bring its world to the staff but rather incorporates a greater understanding of all cultures- now that is true inclusion. That’s showing organizational commitment to employee and community. Props to Intragrain for having the broader vision, and understanding that they have a bigger role to play with their employers than just 9 to 5- they can make their people feel part of their community.