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How Do Leaders Solve Problems? Powerful Story and 3 Tips

Leadership Story Leaders Solve Problems and 3 Tips to Help

Leadership Story and 3 Tips

One thing is for sure, if you are a leader, you will solve problems. The following story illustrates how easy it is in leadership to look past the most obvious causes of problems.

A story is told of a crowd of people who were standing at the edge of a river bank when they begin to hear the cries of a baby. In complete shock they see a baby floating and quickly pull it out. As this is happening another baby comes floating down the river crying and then another and another. Good Samaritans are jumping in left and right to save each of the babies.

As these people continue to jump in and rescue the floating infants, one person runs away from the crowd. Several of them call out in disbelief, “where are you going?” The response: “I’m going upstream to stop whoever’s throwing babies into the river.

This story demonstrates how some leaders may be too focused on what they see before them and not what is happening up or down stream.

Here are three things you can do now to help you better solve problems as a leader in your organization and on your teams.

1. Create a Culture of Healthy and Productive Conflict. In Patrick Lencioni’s best selling book “The Five Dysfunctions of a team (you can get the book here),” he writes about the need for teams to engage in healthy productive conflict. Doing so creates efficiency. In such a culture team members feel like they can honestly speak up and express their opinions freely instead of withholding, whining and backbiting.

Of course trust must be cultured and highly valued on such teams, but when it is, problem solving gets a lot easier. Leaders are able to effectively turn to their teams and facilitate solutions to problems.

2. Step Back. Leaders who spend too much time in the weeds are poor problem solvers. If all you see is weeds, all you will see is weeds. No duh, right? However, those leaders who are too busy to get above the thorns and thistles are not rare at all. In my years of consulting I have seen it way too often.

Instead, get above the dandelions, annual sow-thistles and crabgrass and take time to observe, ponder and reflect. I recently posted a popular article on this very topic. See “The One Important Thing That Can Make or Break You as a Leader.”

3. Anticipate. One important thing effective leaders do is to forecast and anticipate problems. They are strategic and are already thinking ahead. These leaders bring their teams together, begin to connect the dots and understand available resources and budgets before the problem has even reared its complete ugly head.

What tips do you have for solving problems? Please comment below.

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