This is a recap of a Forbes.com article written by contributor Glenn Llopis. I am always looking for ideas to help you become a better leader.
As leader of your organization or area of responsibility (each holds the responsibility of a CEO whether that is your title or not) you are faced with problems daily. And you see it as your mission to get rid of them as quickly as possible so you can get back to the issue at hand, leading and growing your company/department and your people.
Problems come at you from many directions. Internal, in the form of your direct reports who cannot make decisions on their own or external, such as a competitor’s actions or the economy. Obviously, these are only a few examples. I don’t have to list them for you. You know them all too well and some frustrate you more than others because the same ones keep happening!
The author, Llopis, contends that the best leaders see problems as opportunities, a chance to change something in their organization to make it better. Less capable leaders see problems as just the problem in front of them and not as an opportunity to improve their company.
So how should you deal with problems?
1) Transparent Communication
How transparent is communication within your company, especially among your leadership team? This is a result of trust, which should be a core value and an expectation among your team members. If someone is not willing to “fess up” it may be difficult to get to the root of any problem, therefore, taking up valuable time before it can be addressed. When it comes to an issue with one of your customers you want to resolve it quickly to demonstrate your ability to do so. On the other side of this equation is the fear of retribution for having made a mistake. Fear is not a motivator despite what you may think. You risk losing your key people if you lead from a fear based culture.
2) Break Down Silos
Do you lead a boundary-less organization? Is there transparent and cooperative communication among your company’s departments? Only in this culture can you solve issues quickly that involve several different areas of your company. If you don’t feel this exists as well as it should look at who is leading the different departments. What is their philosophy about open communication? This may be where the problem lies.
3) Open-minded People
Open-minded people believe in being transparent in their communication and encouraging open communication throughout the company. They have nothing to hide even if it was them that caused the problem. Their philosophy is that we need to fix this and move on. On the other side is the individual who tries to hide their inefficiencies so they are not “discovered” as the imposters they are. By stonewalling the discovery of the root of the problem it causes divisiveness among your leadership team who probably know who the lightweight is among them.
4) A Solid Foundational Strategy
In order to solve a problem a strategy must be formed. Just wading into it in order to solve it quickly is not a solution, it is a band-aid. Done this way it WILL come back to bite you again. Gather together the people who you feel will best be able to tackle this problem. Brainstorm effective solutions and implement them. This experience inspires people because they see you having trust in them. And when their solution uncovers a new and better way to do business they feel they have personally helped shape the future of “their” company.
So problems can actually be a good thing for your company. It is an opportunity to unite your employees and discover more efficient ways of doing business.
Consider Reading This
Unintended Consequences by Edward Conard. Challenging conventional arguments as to the causes of our most recent recession: Wall Street and the mortgage industry for using low down payments and teaser rates; consumers borrowing recklessly; and tax policies, Conard presents a fascinating and contrarian case for how the economy really works, what went wrong and what we need to do to start growing again.