1. Separate yourself and people from the problem you want to solve. What is your style in problem solving? Do you usually muddle things up by making it look like it is your fault that a problem has occurred? For many, there is no clear distinction between them, the problem they want to solve and the people around them. Solving a problem like a giant means no accusation or fingering pointing to internal or external individuals. The first approach is to separate all the components and be emotionally detached from all the issues. The ability of the leader to separate his/herself brings clarity, creativity and energy to deal with all the issues. When the leader is emotionally involved or feels directly responsible for the ugly incidents or problems they try to solve, their thinking becomes clouded and their solutions are misaligned.
  1. Get information about the problem. The leader must not assume that what they know about a problem is all that exist about it. Proceeding with data collection, talking to stakeholders and analyzing the data will help in identifying root causes. Information emanating from these sources are thereafter converted to the problem statement. The problem statement clearly outlines the problem earmarked for solving and the desirable outcomes.
  2. Be clear headed and focused. In times of problems and difficulties, a leader can become agitated, emotionally disoriented and could experience mental fatigue. In solving a problem, a balanced mental acuity is required in unravelling the puzzle and in arriving at the best solution. A leader must clear both their head and mind, to see through the maze of problems and decompose them meaningfully. To clear your mind, music or exercise will be helpful. Finding a way of rewinding and getting involved in volunteering activities will temporarily relax the mind and enable it refresh to deal will emerging challenges
  3. Get help if you can. It is always helpful to ask for support if you need one. This can come from colleagues, partners, friends or subject matter experts. Help can also be gotten from data analyst, field staff or agents through data gathering, mutual sharing of ideas or trend analytical discussions. Getting support from others help the leader to focus on core issues while delegating non-core activities to team members
  4. Get the best fit solution from the bouquet of alternatives. The process of developing solutions to problems usually throw up several alternatives. At this stage, the leader does risk mapping and identifies solutions that could provide the best answers. From these range of alternatives, the leader decides the best fit solution and applies it to solving the problem
  5. Share your solutions with your team. When the execution of a solution requires the participation of several individuals, the leader must communicate the action plan with the team members. Solution communication and idea sharing is a strategy that facilitates the cooperation and active participation of members of the value chain in program execution.
  6. Relax and think through your approach. The leader must stay away from apprehension and learn to relax at every stage of the action plan implementation, whether the results being produced are those planned for or not. No leader should fall sick or die because the result from problem solving didn’t meet what was planned. Thinking through the approach in a relaxed manner helps the leader to adjust and finetune the strategy to better the outcome
  7. Watch the results and see if gaps exist. The leader carries out evaluation at this stage to see if the problem has been solved or what gaps exist for rework.

 

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