Have you ever had one of those sleep-deprived nights where you hear Drip…Drip…….Drip? I have. You would think this would have been annoying enough to get me to prioritize fixing that leaky faucet the next day. You would be wrong. It seems that during the day when I’m not reminded by that occasional splash, the leak in the shower doesn’t rise to the level of demanding my attention. So, I woke up sometime the next night and heard “Drip,” and thought, 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. Experience tells us if we drop what we are doing and go take care of the issue, our day will soon be filled with leaky faucets and at the end of the day we’ll be left wondering what we accomplished. How do we make sure our leaky faucets are taken care of AND be effective at managing our time?
First, recognize that leaky faucets happen. Issues arise, interruptions occur. You hear the phrase many busy leaders secretly come to dread, “Hey, you got a minute?” Depending on your level in the organization, plumbing might as well be in your job description!
Next, realize 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 new task that needs to be addressed. Few things hurt a leader’s credibility more than failing to live up to commitments. 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 delay working on the issue more than a couple of times, perhaps it’s best to delegate the task to someone else. Metaphorically, maybe it’s time to call the plumber!
Good leaders 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 great opportunities to do just that.
Until next time, be great. I just checked my schedule and think I’ll go fix a faucet! …or maybe I’ll call a plumber…