Berger Leadership Blog

Sep 26, 2014

Leader = problem solver


Our roles as leaders often require us to solve problems and issues that arise at our organizations. Problems can be minor – such as depletion of the office coffee supply (well, here that wouldn’t be so minor); or they can be major – such as departmental discord that impedes output.

And since problems are always with us (solve one, then another rears its ugly head), we can probably all benefit from these very similar tips offered by both Forbes and Business Insider:

1. Communicate. Before you jump right in with a solution, listen and allow everyone to communicate their concerns and thoughts on the issue.

2. Break down silos. Silos within an organization are often a root cause of many problems. Enable team players, not self-promoters, Forbes encourages.

3. Create an open-minded culture. Fill your organization with open-minded, positive people who will tackle problems head on.

4. Have a solid foundation and a plan. Learn from past experiences. Don’t guess at a solution.

One other tip: Sometimes it’s best when the leader identifies a problem to let others implement the solution. “Since it is rarely the leader who will end up executing the solution, engaging the people who will do it results in much better execution,” organizational design expert Scott Franklin writes in an article on Reliable Plant.

Personally, I find it helpful to gather all the data I can – whether quantitative or qualitative – and then make an informed decision on a solution. But if it’s a caffeine issue and your staff is grumbling, the solution is pretty obvious.