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Resolving Problems and Motivating Teams

Resolve problems effectively

Your ability to resolve problems effectively is key to your success in management. Employees will look to you to set a strong example. When a problem arises, you must take the following steps.

Take responsibility

Get involved right away. Don’t procrastinate or hand the problem off. Get first-hand information about what’s going on. Don’t rely on any one individual to inform you. Listen to all the perspectives.

Ensure that you’re getting the right information

The information you gather about a problem will ultimately determine the resolution you select. If you use effective information-gathering techniques, you can ensure that you’ll make a better decision:

Gathering information — First, it’s important to gather as much information as possible. Make an effort to talk to everyone who’s involved, not just the people you already know. Ask everyone questions. Avoid assuming that there’s a bad guy or that people you trust will have all the information you need.

Delaying judgment — Don’t make a judgment until you have all the facts. It’s easy to jump to conclusions based on a little information, but these kinds of snap judgments are often incorrect. Besides, if you make conclusions early, you may overlook new information that could change your decision.

Making exceptions — Sometimes you have to extend a deadline or make an exception until you know all the facts. If you run into a problem on a project, it’s better to wait until you understand the issue fully, even if it means extending a time frame.

Getting specific facts — It’s important to make sure that people are specific. They often say things like, “She dropped the ball,” or, “He hasn’t been pulling his weight.” You need specifics, such as, “She didn’t turn in the report,” or, “His project was four days late.” Otherwise, you’re just dealing with opinions.

Communicate effectively

The more clearly you communicate your approach throughout problem resolution, the more you’ll help others stop focusing on frustration. You’ll help them begin looking toward solutions and the future.

Your communication style sets the standard for how those you lead share information. You have an opportunity to set the example for smooth communication for those you lead. You should:

Be sensitive — Sometimes, big problems are disguised as smaller ones. Always think through the effect of a situation. For example, you may find a billing error that seems simple, but it may turn out that the company’s accounting system is corrupt and needs to be updated.

Stay open — It’s important to stay open to suggestions. It’s easy to take the attitude that there is only one right solution. Your staff members are often a lot closer to technical issues than you are. You need to listen carefully to their suggestions at all times.

Make it clear — You have to help all departments in your company understand the challenges you’re faced with. You also have to make sure they understand your goals. This way, they’ll know when they see an obstacle because they know where you’re going.

Your approach to problem solving will make a significant difference in your leadership abilities. Strong managers take responsibility for the issues that arise in their workplaces. Communication goes hand-in-hand with problem-solving skills. The more clearly you express yourself, the better you’ll be able to implement solutions. (Read more on