The current lockdown is not an easy phase for many. We are indeed blessed if we have a house, sufficient food to eat, and our families close to us. The last thing anyone needs during such a time is to have an issue that needs an expert help from outside. But, unfortunately, that is exactly what happened with me, the other day. Our water pump broke down!
As trivial an issue as it might be in the big scheme of things, with no help in sight, it was a matter of grave concern for our family. Living in an independent house in a city like Gurgaon means no Apartment Facility Management Service. Thus, no plumbing help is available. Furthermore, booster pump breaking down meant a serious water crisis in house, so there was sufficient panic. I was on a video call with my team in the afternoon, when my wife peeked inside the room with a stressed look on her face. I knew instantly that something was not right. After 10 years of marriage, you just know.
I finished the call and rushed out of the room. She told me with moist eyes that the water pump is not working. I tried to calm her by telling that it just may be an electric supply issue, or an MCB drop. However, she had used all her engineering knowledge by that time – it was not an electric issue, the socket was working, and nobody is getting assigned from Urban clap. Wow! Now that was definitely a panic situation.
Over the years, I have gotten fairly good at doing DIY chores around the house but fixing a Booster Pump was beyond me. So, I decided to call all the plumbers in the area seeking their help. Most of them didn’t pick the phone. Few picked and informed that they had moved back to their village. The next step was to find and try using phone numbers using Google and calling the plumbers.
I was able to connect with a few who simply denied saying that they won’t come out to be beaten by policeman. We had started losing hope and started visualising the worst water crisis of our lives in a day or two. We even decided to call few electricians, the responses were similar to those of the plumbers. Finally, we connected with Munna, a local electrician in the town. Like many others, he also expressed his inability to come to our place to fix the issue. His landlord had locked the gate of the building from inside. However, he asked us that what is the exact issue. We narrated our ordeal with him. This guy decided to help us!
He further asked us to ensure if there is any power in the pump, asked us to get really close to it and explore if there is any kind of sound. To our surprise, there was indeed a very low humming noise coming from it! He told me that this is a very general issue. He suggested that there must be something blocking the fan. He then asked me to get a screwdriver and push the blade of the fan to force start it. It was initially difficult to locate it, but after some navigation and trying, the blade moved. A little more effort and we had on our hands, a perfectly running Booster pump. There was a row of cheer in the house!
My daughter almost started jumping out of joy. I thanked Munna and asked him, if I can pay some fees for his consultation. He denied telling me that this is the least he can do with these limitations around. He asked me to just remember him the next time I had some work. This was an amazing demonstration of leadership by an electrician. The lockdown has brought in a flood of Customer Service emails and messages saying that “We are here for you.” However, seeing it in action is a completely different thing!
With these kind of issues in the water booster, normally a plumber or electrician would take it for service, and you end up getting a fairly good service bill. They never tell you that it needs just a push to the fan blade to start working. Many others who I called on that day could have helped me as well. But it is so convenient to just ignore and move on.
In our leadership workshop called ‘The Leadership Challenge’, we share the “The five practices of exemplary leadership.”
What Munna demonstrated 5 days back is “Enabling others to Act.” He enabled me to solve the issue with his expert guidance. His focus was on getting the issue resolved and not on whether he is getting the job or not. Many of us struggle in this area. We are bad with delegation and always live with the fear of losing control. Enabling others to act is all about believing in the other person. It is about the intent of making others succeed as well. And like all matters of “Karma”, good will come back to you. Next time when the is any electric repair work in my house, guess who I would be calling?
There is a lot happening around us these days. If you notice any leadership story like this happening around you, do share it in the comments section!