Solving complex problems requires time, and it’s unlikely that the first solution that comes to mind is the right one. That’s why thinking through solutions is such an important leadership skill. As a leader, you face many problems on a daily basis, and it can be difficult to devote time and energy to finding the best solution to every problem, even when you have done your research. This skill enables you to consider all your options and ensures that you don’t just settle on the first solution that comes to mind or make a reactive decision out of frustration. Such reactive decision-making often results in ineffective solutions that only address superficial issues and leave the underlying problems unresolved.
People grow when they are empowered to do so—when they own their decisions, feel personally responsible for outcomes, and directly experience the consequences of their actions. But if you don’t empower others to make decisions, then you run the risk of creating a team of helpless individuals who simply do what you tell them but don’t have the confidence or ability to think and act independently—plus you will become the decision-making bottleneck of your team.
You can only solve a problem effectively if you understand its root cause, and you can only understand a problem’s root cause through research and analysis. This means gathering data and taking the time to compare and contrast evidence from multiple sources, even when there is pressure to jump to quick conclusions. Without a good analysis, you cannot understand an issue properly, and you are likely to end up solving the wrong problem or just addressing superficial symptoms.
People don’t develop skills by taking a class or reading a book. It’s your job as their leader to actively help them develop them through feedback, challenging assignments, suggestions, and reflection. If you don’t invest your time and energy into developing the people on your team, they will stop learning, stagnate, and become disengaged, and their performance will eventually decline.
As a leader, creating urgency is an effective way to push individuals and teams to deliver results. Without a sense of urgency, your teammates won’t push themselves to work hard, and they may procrastinate and struggle to get tasks and projects done on time. When people lack a sense of urgency, they are more easily sidetracked with daily distractions and can end up wasting time on tasks that are unimportant.
You may feel like there always seems to be more work to be done than hours in the day, and that’s why it’s important to prioritize…