An old woman had two large pots, which she used to fill water. She hung each of these pots at the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and carried water up to the brim. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
This went on daily for two years with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of itself while the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection. It felt sad that it could not fill fully and be of complete use to the woman.
So one day the cracked pot spoke to the woman,” I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.” The old woman smiled, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?” The pot seemed puzzled. She continued,” That’s because I have always known about your defect, and so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day while we walked back from the stream, you watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be these flowers to decorate the house.”
Moral of the story
None of us is perfect and has our own defects. But it is these cracks ad defects that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You have just got to take each person as they are and look for the good qualities in them. So, let us appreciate the people in our lives the way they are and value them for the uniqueness.
Each of us has our own unique flaws. We are all cracked pots. But it’s the cracks, the quirks, faults and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and the world so interesting and rewarding. We’ve just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them. There’s a lot of good out there.
SO, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path! You’re loved !
Cracked Pot Leadership
There are several lessons we can take away from this parable. For example, leaders should reflect these attributes:
1. Share Your Weaknesses: Leaders need to share their weaknesses to develop others. Like the cracked pot, leaders should be comfortable with their “scars” and bare them as lessons for others. What team member could learn more from your experience?
2. Define Clear Expectations: To be a great contributor, team members need to know exactly what is expected of them. In our parable, the pot did not even know it was expected to water the plants. Who should you be more clear about expectations with?
3. Recognize Hidden Strengths: Many employees come to us with benefits beyond their job description, such as positive attitudes, innovative thinking or a great ability to motivate. The cracked pot thought the leaking water was a weakness, when it fact, it was a strength. Who do you need to help recognize their own strengths?
4. Balance Reviews: 360 degree reviews help ensure balanced feedback. However, like the cracked pot, make sure the perspectives you gather are not all from a single project, or perspective. Who should you ask for additional feedback on your team?
5. Capture a Comprehensive ROI: Financial results are important, but they are not the only attribute to define success. The elderly woman realized the amount of water delivered to the house was not the only success factor. What other attributes define your comprehensive return on investment?