When Problem-Solving is a Problem
The way you deal with problems is more important than the problems themselves. Dysfunctional problem-solving makes problems worse.
3 dysfunctional problem-solving leaders:
#1. Tip-toe leaders.
Tip-toe leaders prolong problems by producing tip-toe solutions.
Tip-toe leaders worry too much about personalities, politics, and public perception. You can’t ignore these issues. Just don’t make them central.
Solution: Stretch your kind candor muscles behind closed doors with trusted colleagues. Find language and tone that expresses your heart and speaks to challenges.
#2. Drama-making leaders.
Drama aggravates problems by adding heat. Spend less energy complaining about things in the past and more energy dealing with things you can change.
Cure: Adopt a make-it-better approach. Ask, “How am I making things better with my attitude, words, and behaviors?”
Use the energy of stress to turn your attention to solutions.
#3. Face-saving leaders.
Face-savers worry more about appearances than results. Face-saving leaders:
- Hide tough issues from higher ups.
- Minimize real problems.
- Have things in control when they’re covering their butts.
Sadly, in dysfunctional organizations, face-savers succeed.
Cure: The best way to save face is to own problems and work toward solutions, even if the problems aren’t your fault. Be known as a solution provider, not a self-protective face-saver.
10 questions that enable effective problem-solving:
- Why does this matter?
- What have we already done to solve this problem?
- How are customers impacted by this problem?
- What internal teams/individuals are impacted by this problem?
- What do we assume is true?
- Who needs to be part of the solution?
- If things were going perfectly, what would it look like? Think behaviors.
- What would you like from me?
- What questions should we be asking?
- What’s next?
Use the Five Ws to gather information.
What do leaders do to prolong problems?
What are some questions to ask when working to solve problems?
This post is adapted from a Leadership post on October 3, 2016.