Ever heard the saying, problems, problems everywhere? Any leader will quickly realise that there will always be a steady stream of issues flowing towards them in a leadership role. Some issues are big, and some are small, but not a day will go by without having to deal with problems. So, here are three practical tips to help you.
Tip 1: Realise that one of the critical roles of a leader is to solve problems! I still remember when an experienced leader first shared that insight with me. It was incredible how the simple mindset shift from thinking, “Oh no, not another problem to deal with,” to “This is one of my key roles” had on the way I approached problems. When I settled it in my mind that helping the team deal with problems was one of the ways that I added value to the organisation, everything changed! No longer was I taken off-guard when issues arose, I was expecting them (in a healthy way) and far more prepared to handle them.
Tip 2: Understand that every big problem brings an opportunity for growth. When we carry a Biblical worldview, we know that we will face troubles in this world but that Jesus has overcome (John 16:33). So, if our problems don’t defeat us, they end up growing us as we learn to walk with Jesus. I love how Brian Simmons puts it, “We all experience times of testing, which is normal for every human being. But God will be faithful to you. He will screen and filter the severity, nature, and timing of every test or trial you face so that you can bear it. And each test is an opportunity to trust him more, for along with every trial God has provided for you a way of escape that will bring you out of it victoriously” (1 Corinthians 10:13, The Passion Translation). Be encouraged – you are not alone, and the goal is not just to survive; the goal is to grow.
Tip 3: Identify trusted advisors and ask them for help. I have had the privilege of working with a US-based business coaching team for the past two years. Two of the most valuable ideas that I have gleaned from them are the need to engage with trusted advisors and how to solve a problem. As it turns out, the two are related – leaders are more confident to reach out for help when they know what they are asking for help with. The challenge is to move from admiring your problems (by only talking about them) to practically solving them. It begins by identifying the root cause of a problem and articulating it in the form of a problem question. Why not try it? Think of the issue weighing on you, dig a bit deeper for the root cause, phrase it in a simple question … and ask for help! You will find that getting to the fundamental question you are asking for help with, already moves you closer to the solution.
Problems, problems everywhere – no problem! Hopefully, you find these three simple tips helpful in how you approach problems. My encouragement to you is to go out and practice. Solving problems is like working a muscle. The more you train, the stronger you become.
We would also love to hear back from you about how your problem solving is going, so why not message us.
By Trevor Hartley