Think for a second..what often brings down the biggest and best objects, people, and organizations. It’s often something that started as a small issue and turned into something big. Small cracks sink big ships.This week we’ll discuss why we need to be wary of those cracks and what to do when they arrive.
First, let’s focus on the problems and discuss a few examples. There’s an old analogy amongst schools and businesses where the staff is related to a team, and it couldn’t be more true. Whatever industry you work in, you’re a part of a team. Most schools will not allow students to wear hats. A potential crack would be if half of the faculty allowed students to wear hats and the other did not. The issue of wearing a hat in a building is a pretty small issue. But if everyone is not on the same page in enforcing the rules, then there becomes a problem for the entire school. Punctuality within businesses or sports teams is paramount. If the leader allows some to be tardy while giving out discipline to others, it’s a problem. It may only be a minute or two, a small crack, but consistency is vital. Small cracks develop when people stop paying attention to details. No matter the venue, leaders cannot allow little things to build up and fester. If they do, enough small cracks lead to a big explosion. Small cracks sink big ships.
Next, let’s discuss the problems that arise when small cracks are not paid attention to. First and foremost, the people under the leaders will begin to doubt their ability to lead. They will check out and not give their best. Employees and players will feel as if their boss or coach does not have their back. They will no longer be invested in the team’s cause and they’ll want to be elsewhere. Any level of trust that existed previously will erode. Teams, groups, and organizations crumble when leaders fail to support those underneath them and address the small cracks that have developed. Small cracks sink big ships.
Lastly, let’s discuss how the cracks can be fixed. First, there must be intentional leadership. To be effective the leader must be proactive. It should be a priority to say hi and ask how each person is doing in person every day. Make time for it. It will pay off. The leader must also be out front and visible, not behind a desk or away in an office. The team leader must continually offer advice, support, and encouragement to all team members. When this happens they will feel comfortable sharing concerns, thus preventing small cracks from developing. Finally, team leaders must be willing to hold others accountable. Whether it’s students, players, employees, or co-workers accountability is vital. The leader is useless if they’re not willing to hold others accountable for their actions. Leaders lose all credibility with the people they lead when this happens. Don’t say one thing and then do another. Small cracks sink big ships.
What advice do you have for dealing with the small cracks?
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak with your team, group, organization. Message him for details.