You can do better. You deserve better.
With as many problems as we are all faced with in our work and life, it seems as if there is never enough time to solve each one without dealing with some adversity along the way. Problems keep mounting so fast that we find ourselves taking short-cuts to temporarily alleviate the tension points – so we can move onto the next problem. In the process, we fail to solve the core of each problem we are dealt; thus we continuously get caught in the trap of a never-ending cycle that makes it difficult to find any real resolutions. Sound familiar?
1. Transparent Communication
Problem solving requires transparent communication where everyone’s concerns and points of view are freely expressed. I’ve seen one too many times how difficult it is to get to the root of the matter in a timely manner when people do not speak-up.
Yes, communication is a fundamental necessity. That is why when those involved in the problem would rather not express themselves – fearing they may threaten their job and/or expose their own or someone else’s wrong-doing – the problem solving process becomes a treasure hunt. Effective communication towards problem solving happens because of a leader’s ability to facilitate an open dialogue between people who trust her intentions and feel that they are in a safe environment to share why they believe the problem happened as well as specific solutions.
Once all voices have been heard and all points of view accounted for, the leader (with her team) can collectively map-out a path toward a viable and sustainable solution. As fundamental as communication may sound, don’t ever assume that people are comfortable sharing what they really think. This is where a leader must trust herself and her intuition enough to challenge the team until accountability can be fairly enforced and a solution can been reached.
2. Break Down Silos
Transparent communication requires you to break down silos and enable a boundary-less organization whose culture is focused on the betterment of a healthier whole. Unnecessary silos invite hidden agendas rather than welcome efficient cross-functional collaboration and problem solving.
Organizational silos are the root cause of most workplace problems and are why many of them never get resolved. This is why today’s new workplace must embrace an entrepreneurial spirit where employees can freely navigate and cross-collaborate to connect the problem solving dots; where everyone can be a passionate explorer who knows their own workplace dot and its intersections. When you know your workplace dot, you have a much greater sense of your sphere of influence. This is almost impossible to gauge when you operate in silos that potentially keep you from having any influence at all.
In a workplace where silos exist, problem solving is more difficult because you are more likely dealing with self-promoters – rather than team players fostered by a cross functional environment.. When you operate in a siloed environment where everyone wants to be a star, it becomes increasingly difficult to help make anything or anyone better. This is when problem solving becomes a discouraging task.
Breaking down silos allows a leader to more easily engage their employees toget their hands dirty and solve problems together. It becomes less about corporate politicking and more about finding resolutions and making the organization stronger.
Read the other two tips at Forbes.com.