As a manager, problem-solving is one of your most powerful weapons.
By “problem-solving”, I don’t just mean your ability to solve problems day to day, but that of your team as well. You giving them the time and space to devise solutions themselves when obstacles appear in their path.
But we must be sympathetic to the fact that managing a team is a constant balancing act.
A manager needs to ensure that their team is productive; constantly delivering results and meeting targets. Simultaneously, the manager should be attempting to foster an environment that supports and motivates staff to do their best work each day. Finding the right balance between these two demands can be quite challenging, but it’s essential to work in this if you want your team to thrive.
One of the most critical skills that you need as a manager is the ability to help your team members navigate the problems they face.
No matter how well-defined their roles are, there will inevitably be occasions where an issue or problem crops up that is outside the scope of their responsibilities. When this happens, your team will look to you for guidance, and it’s up to you to help them find a solution. But the way you approach this can have different short and long term effects and benefits.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of problem-solving for your team’s job satisfaction, and why it’s crucial that you empower your team members to solve problems on their own.
The Importance of Problem-Solving
Before we dive into how you can help your team members develop their problem-solving skills, let’s take a moment to consider why this is so important.
For starters, problem-solving is an essential part of any job. No matter what industry you work in, you’ll face challenges and issues that you’ll need to overcome to succeed. Employees who are equipped with the skills to solve problems independently are more likely to succeed and be productive in their roles.
And we’re all acutely aware of how our roles are changing.
The World Economic Forum defines the three critical skillsets for jobs of the future as problem-solving, adaptability and collaboration.
Building and training a team of employees who are equipped with the skills to solve problems on their own is crucial. The added bonus of ensuring these employees are competent problem-solvers is that they are more likely to be satisfied in their jobs. When your team members are confident in their ability to identify, navigate and solve the problems they face day to day, they’ll feel considerably more in control of their work, and in turn more invested in their own successes.
Finally, problem-solving is a critical skill for leadership.
As a manager, you need to be able to trust that your team members can solve problems independently. If you’re constantly swooping in to save the day, you’ll create a culture of dependency that can be detrimental to your team’s productivity and morale. This will not bode well as time goes on….
So, how can you help your team members develop their problem-solving skills?
Empowering Your Team to Solve Problems
As a manager, your job is to help your team members become self-sufficient problem solvers. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
- Create a safe environment for experimentation: It’s important that your team members feel comfortable experimenting with solutions to problems, even if those solutions don’t always work out. Encourage your team to try different approaches, and be supportive when things don’t go as planned.
- Give your team members space to solve problems independently: Instead of immediately offering a solution when a problem arises, try giving your team members the time and space to try to solve it themselves. This will help them build confidence in their own abilities and encourage them to take ownership of the solution.
- Encourage collaboration: Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to work together. Encourage your team members to collaborate and share ideas, and be willing to facilitate those discussions when needed.
- Celebrate successes: When your team members successfully solve a problem on their own, make sure to celebrate their successes. Recognize their achievements and reinforce the idea that they’re capable of solving problems independently.
The Benefits of Empowering Your Team
Empowering your team to solve problems independently has many benefits. Here are just a few:
- Increased productivity: When your team members are confident in their abilities to solve problems, they’ll be more productive and efficient in their work.
- Improved job satisfaction: Employees who feel in control of their work and who are invested in their successes are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.
- Stronger team culture: Empowering your team to solve problems together can strengthen the team culture. When employees collaborate to find solutions, they build trust and respect for one another. This creates a positive and supportive work environment where everyone feels valued and supported.
- Improved decision-making: When your team members are empowered to solve problems independently, they’re also more likely to make good decisions. They’ll be able to assess the situation, evaluate different options, and choose the best course of action.
- Leadership development: As your team members become more confident in their problem-solving abilities, you may find that some of them are ready to take on more leadership roles. By empowering your team members to solve problems independently, you’re also creating a pipeline of potential future managers and leaders. Problem-solving is a key component of building a solid strategy too.
As a manager, your job is to ensure that your team is productive, efficient, and successful.
Empowering your team members to solve problems independently is a critical part of this role. By creating a safe environment for experimentation, giving your team members space to solve problems independently, encouraging collaboration, and celebrating successes, you can help your team members build confidence in their abilities and become more self-sufficient problem solvers. In turn, this will lead to increased productivity, improved job satisfaction, a stronger team culture, better decision-making, and a pipeline of potential future leaders.
Don’t be afraid to give your team members the tools they need to succeed – you’ll all reap the benefits in the long run.
Learn how to run a strategy workshop effectively and get them involved.
Why is problem-solving important?
As a business grows and evolves, new scenarios will occur whereby a solution to a problem is needed. These problems must first be identified by the business, before assembling a team to tackle the problem. Issues and problems that are never identified nor solved can be extremely dangerous to the health of a business.
What is the first step in the problem-solving process?
The first step in any problem-solving process is to define the problem itself. It’s important to identify when the problem was first noticed, how it was discovered, and get at least a basic sense of who and what it is affecting.
Why is problem-solving important in the workplace?
Creating a culture of identifying and solving problems in the workplace is hugely beneficial to the health of a team and the business itself. It’s essential to build a team who are able to recognize & analyze problems before coming up with their own potential solutions.