5 Steps to Solve People Problems
People problems spread when they’re ignored.
5 steps to solve people problems:
#1. Solve the right problem.
You think you understand the issue, but if you’re wrong, you end up creating more people problems. The thing that frustrates you may be a symptom, not the real issue.
Focus on the real issue, not symptoms. Define the perceived problem from many perspectives. Include outsiders. Consider the perspective of the person who is the problem.
#2. Enter conflict with curiosity.
Resistance rises when you bring an answer to defend instead of a question to explore.
Those anxious to change others don’t have time for curiosity. You’re anxious to change others and reluctant to change yourself. Begin with yourself.
How are your actions or lack of actions at the root of this concern?
#3. Consider best possible outcomes.
Know what success looks like before you set sail. Your definition of success might change but set direction first.
When addressing people problems consider everyone’s best interest, not just your own.
Too many leaders haven’t defined success in behavioral terms.
- If we succeed, what will people be doing? Not doing?
- If we don’t succeed, what will people be doing? Not doing?
Answer the above questions with yourself in mind first.
#4. Create more than one solution.
Binary situations have winners and losers. How can everyone win?
The first solution seems right until another solution is added. Every people problem has more than one solution.
Distill every solution into observable behaviors and make commitments.
- What will we do differently?
- What will we stop doing?
- What will we start doing?
#5. Set a follow-up meeting.
People problems hang on. You think you’ve solved them, but maybe you only capped a volcano.
Deal quickly and firmly when someone violates their commitment. That includes you. You always go first when it comes to accountability. Set the bar high for others. Set it higher for yourself.
I enjoy reading your blog every time. I am looking up your book now. Thank you!
I love this quote “Resistance rises when you bring an answer to defend instead of a question to explore.” Open ended questions get the conversation moving forward and that opens the door to discover and explore problems with other people and me!
This is good advice for family problems, too. I’m taking notes. Thanks, Dan!
Dan, All five are good points.
People Problems implies many people are behaving in unacceptable ways.
I find “People Problems” often relate to ineffective norms that have become accepted overtime. The issue often relates to a lack of good leader.
Leaders have to establish clear expectations of what’s desired and what’s unacceptable. They have to model what’s expected, and hold people accountable. The holding people accountable–having the difficult conversation is often where leaders fall down.
Leaders are ultimately responsible for the norms that are established in their groups.
I’ve found that when you turn the discussion to “challenges” that one finds it a more positive connotation and sets up a better pathway to a solution regardless if whether it’s people related or not. The only problems one sees are those on math tests, everything else is a challenge.