Three Signs You Might Be a “Duct Tape Leader”

Duct tape.  It will fix anything, right?  From minor home repair to many other creative uses, duct tape can certainly come in handy in a jam, In fact, there are many  websites that provide 101+ uses of this unique adhesive product including contests to reward even the most ingenious uses.

But when it comes your role as a leader, can duct tape be a liability?  In the spirit of this Impact You resource, let’s explore just that.

So often, leaders must take on roles they probably never thought would fall under their job description.  Apart from that silly “other duties as assigned” bullet point, leaders are forced to solve problems and be a peace keeper while at the same time produce results.  It’s a tough balance and one that is a make or break skill for success.

So consider these actions that can prevent you from becoming a duct tape leader:

#1  You treat symptoms versus finding solutions.
This is perhaps one of the hardest aspects of being a leader.  Faced with problems – whether they are technical or involve deep human behavior, it is far easier to simply address a symptom so the problem will seemingly go away.  But to no surprise, it will rear its ugly head again in the future.  Why?  Because the problem wasn’t solved, simply a symptom contributing to a much larger (and usually more serious) issue.  Yes, duct tape will work in a pinch to stop a leaky pipe.  But until you really repair the leak eventually that leak will happen again.  It’s the same in your business.  You must dig deeper and tackle the real causes of problems that plague your team, department or organization.

#2  You produce the “product” but it’s not pretty.
Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t have the luxury of time and resources to get a job done the way we would prefer.  But that’s the reality of life.  This leadership tip isn’t referring to those “have to” moments but applies to a pattern in which you lose sight of the “how” in getting results.  Meeting a deadline is important but not if it is at the expense of error and damaged relationships along the way.  We can try to pretty up a messy approach, in fact the manufacturers of duct tape have done just that with its colored duct tape line.  But at the end of the day it’s still duct tape.  Process matters and sometimes, it’s more important than the end product.

#3  Your team is following in your footsteps.
Want to know the biggest tip you may have become a duct tape leader?  Look around you.  How does your team operate?  Have they been watching you (and they do) for so long that your ineffective style has become the one they emulate?  Do they solve problems they way you do  – quick but no real solutions?  Do they get the job done, whatever it may be, but how they get it done is not one for the school books?  Leaders teach whether they realize it or not.  What skills are you team learning from you and are they the ones you want to pass along?

So as we wrap up (no pun intended), while duct tape isn’t necessarily the go-to tool for leaders, it does have some practical uses.  And for you curious types out there, check out these interesting sites just in case you are ever in a jam and really need to be rescued by duct tape!
–  Reader’s Digest Extraordinary Uses for Duct Tape
–  The Duct Tape Guys (these two guys give tribute to the world of duct tape)
–  Video Guides – watch demos of many uses of duct tape


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