I had to smile to myself the other evening as I was walking home from school.
Did I say school? I meant work.
I was walking the woofer home along our usual route which takes us passed a major roundabout, where 5 routes meet. It also has the bus depot on it, making it very busy.
Major electrical works had been advertised for some time and the day before they’d started. To be honest, it seemed, when I walked to work in the morning, that a fair bit of progress was being made and the traffic lights they set up wouldn’t be causing disruption for too long.
Until tonight, that was. Tonight, the situation had changed.
Now call me inexperienced if you like, but I don’t think a fountain of water shooting 6 feet in the air out of a trench meant for high capacity electrical cables is a good thing. And I don’t really think the trench (which now extended all the way round the roundabout) should be full to the depth of 5 feet with muddy brown water.
I could be wrong, but on this occasion I just don’t think I am.
And my guess, proved to be right, because as I sauntered passed, there they were:
6 guys, all in high visibility jackets, steel toe capped boots and with hard hats on their heads, staring at the geysering water. I swear to you, 3 of them were leaning on their shovels.
Now, I’m sure that stringent efforts were being made to address the, let’s face it, fairly disastrous situation. But if they were, I couldn’t see them. And I don’t think that staring at the fountain was really going to stop it.
One guy had obviously decided to disown the others and he’d wandered off a good 50 feet and was leaning on a fence.
My point is this… when a crisis strikes, someone has to take charge. The collaborative effort, where everyone is involved in the decision making process, just doesn’t work.
To put it another way, leadership has to become far more task focussed, even if it means putting other noses out of joint, just for a while. When the crisis is passed, the leader can become more focussed on the team and individuals within it.