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Problem Solving

Problem Solving

One of the biggest challenges new leaders face is the sudden pressure of being the main port of call for workplace problems. They no longer have the back-up of passing issues up the chain to be solved by someone more senior. The responsibility suddenly falls on them to find effective solutions and make decisions quickly.

If they do this well it builds confidence and improves your organisation, but, if they procrastinate or do this badly it damages confidence, undermines reputations and can have a significant impact on business results.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”

Albert Einstein

So, how do we build our future leaders to effectively solve workplace problems?

We suggest you:

  • Empower your leaders
  • Have a defined, commonly understood problem-solving framework
  • Encourage root cause analysis
  • Develop support networks
  • Support learning from mistakes

Empower your leaders

Sometimes problems come up for your leaders, which you know how to solve. Resist the urge. Even though they may still be growing in confidence, stepping in to solve their problems will undermine their leadership role and hinder their growth as a leader. Take a step back, take a coaching approach and encourage your leaders to come to you with solutions, not problems.

Use a defined, commonly understood problem-solving framework

Making decisions when problems arise can be stressful for new leaders. Introducing a problem-solving framework into your organisation encourages your leaders to feel confident that they will solve problems effectively and reach the right solution. Having a framework which the whole business understands encourages the practice, allows for a common understanding when solving cross functional problems, and gives you a better chance of reaching the right solution.

Encourage root cause analysis

Sometimes you need to do a quick fix – and that’s fine. Business must continue, products must go out and time is money! But…..if your leaders don’t double back, establish root cause and put a solution in place which stops the problem re-occurring they will end up in continuous firefighting mode. Not good for your business, and not good for them.

Develop support networks

Usually when one of your leaders is solving a problem they need the help and support of other teams within the business. If this doesn’t come willingly it can undermine their effectiveness, confidence and how positive they feel about their role. Developing a culture and network of supportive teams is essential to good problem solving. Your leaders need to know who they can call on when they need expert input and feel confident they can trust the advice they receive.

Support learning from mistakes

Despite the best, most robust problem-solving process in place, mistakes do still happen. Using these as learning opportunities helps your leaders to accept their mistakes, look forward and become better at what they do.

Problem solving is an often overlooked, but essential leadership skill. The ability to do this well can transform your organization and keep it continuously moving forward.

We can help to ensure your Leaders have the skill and confidence to be expert problem solvers. To find out more you can check out our website here or contact us at 09-455-1077.

Following these guidelines will help you and your team members smooth over and resolve any differences of opinion. Keen to learn more? Positive People run a Problem Solving & Decision Making module as part of our popular Leadership Development Program. Contact us today atinfo@positivepeople.co.nz or 09 445 1077 to discuss our group or individual training, coaching and development solutions.