Leaders are faced with problems every day. Sometimes it may feel like for every fire you put out there are two more that start. But adjusting your approach to solving problems will aide your day's focus.
Everyone's life involves problem-solving on some level. You make hundreds of decisions throughout the course of the day. Sometimes it is as simple as, "should I have a burger or a salad for lunch?" Other times it is as hard as, "should we lay off workers in our organization?" You don't need to make every decision difficult, but you do need to put the right amount of consideration into the tough ones.
There are often great opportunities made available when your organization is facing a challenging problem. Listening to the people it is affecting is sometimes the best way to make a well informed choice. You need to bring the right knowledge together to create an environment that nurtures this type of sharing. People won't eagerly offer information unless they feel safe and know that their opinion is valued.
If you rule with an iron fist, you likely won't get much valuable intelligence when you need it. You have to create an open environment where you listen to your employees and hear what they are saying as a practice. This will create a more entrepreneurial atmosphere and people will own their role. If everything is working at a high level, it may even save you from having to address problems regularly. Everyone will believe that taking care of the issues as they are presented is part of their role.
This may require a change to your organization that will not be fast. Once information silos are created they won't go away willingly. People use this structure to justify themselves by holding onto information. They may also use them to hide the dysfunction that they are causing. Either way, Rome wasn't built in a day. Rewarding the behavior you want to see, and addressing the behavior that is deterring from the open environment you are seeking, are the first courses of action.
Keep your eye on the organization as a whole. Make sure you are clear on how all of the pieces fit together and where each person should be placed in the puzzle. This unclouded delineation will allow everyone to create better rules of engagement and reduce the hesitation to cooperate with others. Working with the departments or people connected to you is essential if you are going to avoid a potential problem or work to solve an issue you are facing.
Fostering an open environment could help prevent the big complications from happening. If people are cooperatively solving the little things each day it will keep your organization running smoothly.
"All life is problem solving" - Karl Popper