SOLVE IT WITH TEAM

Learn to solve issues on your way to Leadership Development. Learn to deal with the bugs. You have no job if there is no problem at the workplace. Every job description handed to you is your walking working problem to solve. On the road to Leadership development, know this. You are employed to solve problems. Employees who know this, do enjoy the workplace every day, whether there is a change in processes or change in management. You have to sharpen your skills for this because you have to solve problems on a daily basis whether you like it or not. Some do ask, how do you solve problems? Simple. See them as challenges and challenges are surmountable.

“A leader must be intelligent with PACE: Practice, Analysis, Creativity and more importantly Emotions”

Look at it this way and approach it from the people management point of view. See the solution through your team. Your team is always the answer even when they are the problem. It’s a skill to see things differently and also acknowledge your team’s viewpoint. They are your ears and eyes, of course not your mind. In other words, give your team that opportunity to be heard. They always have viewpoints relevant to solving problems. Don’t rest them on the pews and smile to fix their problems. Remember that the teacher is wiser, exposed and more experienced than the student. But the good teacher is one that learns from the student too. In solving problems, keep this always at the back of your mind that it’s good to know but it’s better to be wise.

There is no fool at the workplace. Note this and note it again. Of course, some actions may be deemed foolish but truly there is no fool at the workplace, from a leadership point of view. Try and understand your team’s perspective. Don’t waste your team’s talents and contributions to problem- solving. Involve them. It doesn’t also mean that their submissions are always the way to go. Listen to them. Hear them out. Encourage them to teach you. Remember the line that the team is your eyes and sometimes your ears but they can never be your mind. I have a way of encouraging team contribution. I am not quick to shelve irrelevant contributions from my team. I would rather say that this point would be good in two months and not immediately. It works better than saying that ‘your point is irrelevant’. Problem solving skills involve the use of generally permanent and or temporary methods in finding solutions to problems intelligently at the workplace to the benefit of immediate team and the organization at large.

In Leadership development, solutions must be selfless and not selfish. It’s more of the team and less of you. Ask questions. Ask self and think through issues with team. You can use the diverging approach or the converging approach. Tactically, use meetings to solve problems. Committees could be formed to solve corporate issues. You can also use rewards. Always know that good institutions are built on good meetings. Let every meeting meet the meeting’s objective. If this is achieved, problems would be solved. Institutions and teams that fail to meet regularly and consistently, breed corporate cankers.

People will harbour issues for a long while, waiting for an explosion. Problem-solving should be learned. Solving issues intelligently can be approached in several viewpoints in terms of individual’s capacity for learning, understanding, logic, planning, communication, self-awareness, concepts and perceptions. Apart from God-given talents of intelligence, human beings can work towards achieving high levels of intelligence. Intelligence is central to problem solving and it helps control actions in solving issues too.

Intelligence can also be studied in plants, animals and now artificial intelligence in machines including vehicles, computers, software, ATMs, hospital machines among others, which are currently being employed in solving problems. ‘Intelligence’ originated from the Latin verb ‘intelligere’, to know or to see. ‘Intellectus’, which is also a part of this verb, in the past also became a technical term for understanding. Early modern philosophers worked on this ‘enlighten’ word to mean knowing, perceiving, understanding and even conceptualizing.

A leader must be intelligent analytically, practically, creatively and more importantly emotionally. Research works have been carried out by authorities in leadership. Don’t stop reading. Read as much as you can. Reading makes a man. Problem-solving skills require serious levels of intelligence most often powered by the four E’s: Education, Exposure, Experience and Environment. These factors are deemed to shape one’s problem solving abilities. In many instances, problem-solving is seen as a discipline from various perspectives. It involves some mental processes applied to solve problems on the spot as and when they come up.

To solve problems require higher sense of logic and semantics. You need to be pragmatic with interpretation and understanding of same problem from various angles. Remember that you cannot interpret an issue if you do not understand it. This brings us back to intelligence and thinking on your feet. Things which are seen as straightforward may not be, if you develop your intelligence skills. Learn to sharpen the mental process in problem solving. First, take time to identify the issue at stake. Secondly, be self aware of the issue. What could be the possible causes and hence, the spread effect. Is there a time-line to it? Bring the issues to the table for negotiation with self and team for onward action, after the thought process.

In every problem-solving, there’s actually a goal. Spotting the goal also requires some abstract thinking which brings out a creative solution. Remember that every problem presents an opportunity to meet a goal. Problem solving could be understood as a desired state in reaching a certain ‘goal’ from a current situation which is either not there or perhaps far from the ideal. Whereas problem solving starts from the very beginning of human development, the nature of human problem solving processes has gone through several disciplines. Unlike other school of thoughts, the analytical block argues that problems should be seen as purely logical and scientific, like mathematics.

This is very true. Nonetheless, at the workplace, problems must be solved with people, by people and through people. It is fair to acknowledge this. You cannot escape emotional intelligence, here. At any level; institutional, departmental, regional, branch, unit and personal; problem-solving strategies are key to survival. You may use the ‘problem-solving cycle’- Bransford & Stein, 1993.

The cycle is straight-forward. Identify and diagnose the problem, total description of the problem, developing ways or strategies in fixing the problem, unifying the team to know the problem, get-together the resources available in solving the problem, monitoring and observing the progress in the problem solving process and evaluating the solution for accuracy. As a team, bear in mind that problem won’t stop coming so you cannot stop thinking, either. The best approach to deal with problems, is to be proactive. By this approach, issues are always dead upon arrival. Wear your thinking cap on the road to Leadership development. Be a ‘problem-solver’ and not a ‘problem-giver’. Problem-solving is an employable skill. Crave for it.

For this is Leadership!

Author: Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah

Principal Trainer, Eagle Knowledge Institute || Author: Your Journey To The Top

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