As leaders we are required to solve problems on a daily basis: our employer (or client, depending on the case) requires us to solve all the problems that may arise in the operation. But there are some problems that we need to help our team members to solve: either because of lack of authority, established procedures, etc., our team relies on us to provide a solution or response. In the book “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” by John C. Maxwell, there is a chapter called “Problem solving: You can’t let your problems be a problem,” and it starts with one of his best quotes:
“You can measure a leader by the problems he tackles. He always looks for ones his own size.”
Sadly, there are many leaders that avoid problems that are not directly related to the operation either because the management tasks consume all their time, their lack of interest, capacity (or both), etc. When this happens, one of the natural results is uncertainty: Team members don’t know if their needs will be fulfilled, their requests accepted, or if they have just been forgotten; they don’t know if something they want or need will happen or not.
In order to avoid this, we need to get to know our team: the things that are important to each member, and always try to be a facilitator to get things moving smoothly. We need to listen carefully to what they say, not just as a mere requisite to comply with a certain procedure, but to get the team to understand that we really care about them. We need to spend time and effort on all this, and this is something that many “leaders” don’t want to do because they have many other problems or situations to solve.
But giving our team the certainty that we, as leaders, know their needs and that we will solve the problems they need us to solve (or at least try our best) will create a solid foundation, and you can almost take their commitment by granted because they know they have yours.