Recent Comments

    Are You a Leader or a Problem Solver?

    Recently, I worked with a successful business woman who is desperately seeking to implement procedures in her office that will help her to spend less time solving the problems that her staff is constantly running into. She had come to the point where she would constantly keep her office door closed, so she would not be disturbed. She said, “I can nLeaderever get my work done, or have the opportunity to bring in new business, because I am constantly solving their problems.” So I asked her to repeat that statement again, but asked her to listen to what she had just said.
    As repeating it, her eyes opened up wide and she screeched, “Why did I hire them in the first place!” That’s right. Why did you hire these people? You are a leader, not a problem solver; that is why you had hired them. Granted, a few leaders enjoy being known as the problem solver, it gives them an air of importance; but believe me, this process is only encouraging co-dependency relationships and we all know that is not a healthy place to be. Business owners are the leaders of their organization, the visionary whose main mission in the office is to fulfill that vision and expand the business.

     If you are constantly solving everyone else’s problem, then who is solving yours?? Good leaders come to realise that their most able resource in any problem situation is the people around them. Just as problems do not occur in the vacuum, neither do solutions appear from thin air. It is a mistake for leaders to think that they must solve every problem by themselves. Problem solving, like leadership in general, requires participation of others. Input is needed from all those involved (clients, staff, vendors) before a leader can make hard decisions and set direction for an organization.

    There are concrete steps that leaders can take to address problems. Effective leaders are not only proficient in solving problems; they are also skilled in perceiving issues before they become problems.

    In this case, the client had two choices: either fire the problem staff or re-interview them and in definite terms make clear what you expect from them. Be sure to inform them, that the next time they come to you with a problem; they need to think of at least two possible solutions – if one of them fits into your decision making process, then that’s the one you will go with. This process will guide them to open up their minds to possibilities, to explore the situation at hand, and personally seek out solutions. And as you confirm the process with them, slowly they begin to expand their confidence level and begin to make firm decisions on their own.
    This method can easily apply in your home life; do your kids or spouse constantly come to you with problems, looking for you to solve them. Perhaps it’s time for you to change the process and include them in the decision making process.
    This will not only benefit you, but you’ll also be helping them become more responsible and solution oriented thinkers… and heaven knows we could use more of that in our society!

    Comments are closed.