Water leaks and repeating problems

Photo of the water leak repair in progressThey’re digging up the street outside my house.

It’s yet another water leak. I live on a short, three-block street. We have roughly one leak per month. Seriously. The water-company office staff groanlaugh when we call to report Yet.Another.Leak.Here.

My husband and I have often wondered – as we circumnavigate a puddle or pile of dirt and gravel – why they don’t just dig up the whole street and replace the conduits once and for all. But noooooo…

A smart colleague pointed out that there’s a good chance the budgets for fixing leaks and overhauling the water system are two different buckets. And never, apparently, the twain shall meet.

This is a classic case of fixing immediate problems – the presenting symptom, if you will – without looking deeper to find the underlying issue.

It happens in companies. Symptoms such as high turnover, for instance, are “solved” by amping up the hiring process, without looking at the underlying cultural issues, or recognizing that there’s one failing manager creating a toxic environment for their team.

So many problems within organizations can be actually solved – really, truly solved on a long-term basis – when we recognize that the underlying issue is almost certainly leadership. Most often, it’s leaders who were promoted without being supported in learning the skills of leadership – which are wildly different from the skills of individual contribution.

If you're solving the same people-problem over and over, you just might need to support your leaders in learning better skills...Click To Tweet

Those leaders do their best. But when you don’t have the support and skills development you need, “best” often translates to “struggling” and “learning bad habits” – which means your company develops leaks. Leaks that translate into disengaged, unhappy employees, failing projects, missed deadlines, lost clients, frustrated customers, and so on and on.

If you try to solve those leaks individually, you’re playing whac-a-mole.

Go back to basics. Teach your managers how to be leaders. It’s a lot less drastic than you might think – and certainly a whole lot less painful than banging away at all those leaks.

Leadership development doesn’t have to be an expensive, time-consuming Thing. It can actually save time and will inevitably solve problems. Let’s talk. Click to contact me and schedule a brief conversation!