Every leader is a problem solver. Problems are situations or enigmatic cases that are troubling, confusing and demanding time and resources to resolve.
To be a problem solver, the leader must follow the 9Ds of problem solving:
- Decide the problem to solve. Leaders decide what problem to solve daily and what not to invest their time and energy on. No leader is ever appointed to solve all problems, as it will be overwhelming. To lead is to identify the problem you have been appointed to solve and the value to create.
- Define the objectives. Once a leader has identified the problem to solve, they must define the objectives. The objectives must be SMART. That means it must be specific, measurable, achievable, reachable and time bound. Every leader must have the habit of stating their objectives for whatever they are doing.
- Divide the problem into smaller components. Like they say, Elephant is eaten in bits and pieces. The leader will achieve what they set out to do faster when the problem is decomposed into smaller units and each of them is earmarked time, energy and resources to solve.
- Develop the approach of solving the problem. In solving problems there are approaches and processes. The leader chooses what to solve first and what to solve next based, on order of importance and impact.
- Direct team members on what to do. Leaders give direction. They do this by telling team members what to do, when and why it should be done. Giving instructions and continuous communication of the plan is a great habit successful leader use to direct the team.
- Do the actions identified. Leaders are clinical finishers, only when they execute end to end. When actions have been planned to achieve a given task, the leader must ensure the actions are carried out.
- Devote time for supervision and monitoring. Spending time with team members will promote efficiency and maximum delivery of results. Through supervision and monitoring, the leader share knowledge, promote effectiveness and ensure standards are delivered.
- Deliver the results. The ultimate result of problem solving initiatives is result – that the problem was solved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders and set objectives have been met.
- Deliberate on what happened through feedback. Leaders must have the habit of sitting with their teams to evaluate their efforts by asking critical questions from team members. Through a feedback or review session, they understand what happened and learn lessons for future projects or assignments.