Leaky Faucets and Leadership


leaky_faucet“Splash”… “Splash”. That’s what I’ve been hearing off and on at night over the last few weeks.  Investigation revealed the shower has an intermittent slow drip that pools water on top of a shower cleaner, eventually tipping it just enough to pour the water off and causing a “Splash.” Then the cycle starts over again. You would think this would be annoying enough to get me to fix it. You would be wrong.  It seems that during the day when I’m not reminded by that occasional splash, the leaky shower doesn’t rise to the level of demanding my attention. So, I’ll probably wake up sometime tonight and hear “Splash,” and think, once again, “I really should fix that.”

As leaders we often have “leaky faucets” arise during our busy days. Those issues that don’t demand our immediate attention but if left undone will eventually cause greater problems. We also know that if we drop what we are doing and go take care of the issue, our day will soon be filled with leaky faucets and there won’t be time left in the day to do our High Payoff activities.

How do we make sure our leaky faucets are taken care of AND be effective at managing our time? First, realize that leaky faucets happen. Next, knowing that out-of-sight out-of-mind is a very real concept for busy professionals, take a moment to write something down to remind yourself the next time you are building your daily plan that there is a task that needs to be addressed. Then, schedule time to take care of it. Finally, be honest with yourself about your ability to EVER get around to dealing with the issue.  If you slip working on the issue more than a couple of times, perhaps it’s time to delegate the task to someone else. Metaphorically, maybe it’s time to call the plumber!

Good managers are effective at getting stuff done. Great leaders develop and empower their people into teams that effectively get stuff done.  Those leaky faucets may be opportunities to do just that.

Thanks for reading. I just checked my schedule and think I’ll go fix a faucet.  Better yet, maybe I’ll teach my son how to fix it…


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