Secret #25: Managing by Pouring Water


Excerpted from Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading, Part 2:
A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Being a Better Leader

Management by pouring water started out of need—a busy night, a short-staffed dining room and a desire to be of service. It ended up a being regular routine and a whole new approach to leadership. I’ve probably learned as much carrying my water pitcher around the dining room at the Roadhouse as I have sitting down to read. Word has it that Emma Goldman once uttered, “When things are bad, scrub floors.” I’m down with the spirit of that—when I’m feeling down and out, I start pouring water. It almost never fails to reignite my energy and increase my appreciation for all the great food and very fine people I get to work with everyday. It’s one of the best moves I’ve made over the years. I’m not sure what the parallel to water pouring is in your work, but it’s worth giving it some thought.

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