The Drip

I bought my house almost three years ago. For some time now I have noticed a “clicking” noise in my kitchen. Well, I hear it while I’m in my kitchen but the noise is coming from the ceiling and on the other side of that ceiling is my master bathroom. I can’t tell you when I first noticed it, a few weeks, a few months? I don’t know. But I can tell you my thought process has been something like; that is a click, not a drip … and if it were a drip there would be damage… and I can’t see any damage… so everything must be fine…

Saturday morning after I had taken a shower and while I was eating breakfast I clearly heard the clicking noise right above my head. It was loud and it happened over and over again. I finally came to terms with the belief that it was in fact a drip. But, there was no visible damage, so everything must be fine, right?

Later that day I came home from running some errands. A large water-stain and a wet ceiling were there to greet me. I knew it would cost me more to call a plumber since it was a weekend but I had visions of my ceiling caving in or my housing flooding so I made a call for help.

The plumber arrived and said he couldn’t be certain but he was pretty sure he needed to re-caulk the space between my tub and shower wall. I paid him nearly 100 times the cost for some caulk on a job I could have done myself if only I had paid attention to the drip.

I wish I could say I was the only one who has ever waited for damage to appear before taking action, but the truth is it happens all the time. We allow people to stay in leadership positions when we know it is the wrong fit. We allow people to erode our culture when we clearly know what they are doing. We avoid hard conversations and pretend that everything is fine. We do this because we can’t yet see the damage, but we know the damage is happening beneath the surface.

Great leaders create healthy cultures and develop their people. They are able to do so because great leaders call it what it is, they pay attention to and deal with the drip before the damage is even visible.

Trust me, waiting for the damage to appear before you take action is a costly mistake.

Deal with the drip.