Leaders are problem solvers. There are lots of people who can identify problems, complain about them, fret over them, or ignore them. Leaders look for solutions. One great way to grow as a leader is to seek to be better at solving problems. What does this look like?
– Identify what is broken. What is causing stress for you, for volunteers, for staff, for parents? What is a problem that keeps popping up over and over again? Sometimes the roots of problems are deeper than the surface. Identify the root of the problem. Why does that check-in line continue to be slow? Why do the glue sticks continue to disappear? Why does no one sign up for the event? Why don’t volunteers follow that procedure?
– Don’t wait for someone else to solve your problems. If the problem is anywhere in your realm of responsibility, it is your responsibity to fix it. Yes, someone else may be at fault. Yes, someone else may not be pulling their weight. But shifting blame does nothing to solve a problem. And it is not leadership.
– Research. You want to make the best, most informed solution possible. Check with everyone involved with the issue. Ask a lot of questions. Ask other peers in your field who might have encountered similar issues. Ask professionals related to the issue at hand. Google a little bit.
– Make a decision. Sometimes pulling the trigger can be the most difficult part of solving a problem. We are sometimes afraid we are going to make it worse or that we will rock a boat or honestly, we get too caught up in the day to day stuff. Make a decision and go with it.
– Evaluate. Did your solution help? What needs to still be done? Is the problem mostly solved or solved? Some solutions come in steps. Sometimes you need a temporary solution that will make things a little better until a permanent solution is available.
What problems have you had to solve recently in your realm of leadership?