Last Wednesday a new refrigerator was delivered to the house. Before that happened, my mind kept wondering if the current refrigerator, which was failing fast, would produce something memorable before its final hours or go out like a lamb.


It decided to strike out, so around 7:30 in the morning it started to leak from the hose that was attached to the ice maker. The ice maker stopped working almost 2 years ago, and we even had a repairman tell us that it couldn't be fixed. Yet, no one ever thought about turning off the water that was supposed to be going to it; oh well...

It turned out that the copper hose that was attached to it had corroded on its own after almost 16 years. This time around my wife decided we should switch to plastic. I didn't have an opinion on that, but after reading the instructions I did have an opinion that we could probably install the new hose ourselves. I'm nowhere close to Mr. Handyman but my wife has some skills and I have determination so I figured we could handle it.

Turns out we couldn't. No matter what we tried we couldn't get the hose to stop leaking from the point of attaching it in the basement. We knew we had the right tools and the correct parts, but we were out of our league.

I decided to turn to someone who last year came to clear the kitchen pipes when things had started backing up on me. I knew he'd be up for this and I had no qualms about calling him. He said he'd be at the house at 3:30 Friday afternoon, which was perfect since I could be home then and had plans for later in the evening.

Of course 3:30 came and went. Up came 4:30, then 5:30, and I told my wife that it looked like he was going to be a no-show. We decided to go out to dinner, as that had been our plans.

I finally heard from him via at 7:30. He said he'd had to work until 6PM and wanted to see if he could come on Sunday. Initially I didn't want to do it; after all, he could have texted me much earlier so I wasn't sitting around waiting for him. Also, if he got off work at 6PM then why did it take him another 90 minutes to finally text message me?

I almost never give second chances with things like this, but my wife said that we needed it attached and that she would be home until noon on Sunday, since I was going out of town to visit my mother. Since I really wanted the ice maker to work, I wrote him back and asked if he could be at the house between 10 and 11:30 because my wife needed to leave the house by 12:30. He said that was great.

Sunday comes, and my wife texts me at 11:50 to say she hadn't heard from him. Now I'm irked because I didn't listen to my inner Spidey senses, and once again he's shown a total lack of respect, decorum and professionalism. He eventually sends her a message at 12:45 saying that he'd been called into work and asked if he could come Monday, Memorial Day. She texted me asking what to do and I said we'd find someone else, which she relayed to him.

The problem wasn't that he had to take care of his regular job first. The problem is that once he'd made a time commitment, at the very least he could have contacted us to say that he wouldn't be able to make it so that we weren't sitting around waiting for him. Within both of these instances he had lots of time to reach out way before we were expecting him, yet it seemed like he either didn't have the inclination to do so or the belief that he was in any way responsible for following through on his obligation, no matter how it manifested itself.

In my mind I tied this in to a leadership trait of bad leaders. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a person in an authority position tell someone they were going to do something and never followed through, whether they had the intention to do it or not. When I was a compliance officer, I had to deal with multiple times when department directors didn't provide what we needed to conduct an audit, and sometimes they didn't even show up for meetings they said they'd come to.

Luckily, because of that position and its direct link to administration I was able to force people to do the right thing, but does anyone believe it should have come to that if someone in a leadership position had affirmed their participation.

If you want to lose any loyalty from employees all you need to do is ignore their needs while lying to them. Even if the lie isn't intentional, because something else came up, it's still important to reach out to those employees to let them know what's going on, and then to do whatever you can do address their needs or the needs of the department as quickly as possible. A laissez faire attitude or a pattern of broken promises makes you an ineffective leader, and you never get those employees to truly work for you again.

Never make promises you don't expect to keep. If your intentions were good and something comes up, address it early and make sure you follow through on what you said you were going to do. If you don't, you're probably not going to last all that long as a leader, and someone else is going to get paid, which happened in my case. Yesterday someone else I called showed up in 20 minutes, fixed the issue in 5, and he got the money the other guy would have received, with a nice tip on top.

Somewhere along the way, I "lost" the first guy's contact information; strange how that works isn't it?

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