Learning to Solve Issues by Jim Johnson

Certainly, you know by now that you will not have all the answers to questions or issues you face as a leader.  Your staff may come to you often for advice and insight.  It may seem to them that you are their personal encyclopaedia.  But there are many times when you simply do not know the answer.  What do you do?

Be the leader that learns and can help others learn.  Face an uncertainty with the spirit of learning.  If you believe you need to know it all, get over yourself.  You don’t.  You won’t. 

Don’t be afraid to inform your staff that you don’t know.  Tell them, “That’s a great question.  Let’s both figure this out.”  Encourage them to use additional company resources (training materials, other staff members, vendors, etc.) to research the answer. You do the same.  Come back together and share what you’ve learned and then make an informed decision.

By doing this, you will model what it is to learn and then apply that knowledge.  Sure, it may be easier for your staff to come to you for answers, but they will learn more, grow more, develop more when they take learning into their own hands.  In fact, encourage them to bring you issues that they believe they’ve already solved.  What an encouragement it will be when you praise them for taking the initiative to discover the answer to a problem without your help! 

Your leadership does not diminish when your staff seeks out answers and then applies that knowledge to their work.  Your team will flourish!  You will be recognized for leading a team that is a valuable resource.  Others will want to come work on your team.

Issues will come up every day.  Help your team learn how to make informed decisions and watch them grow and become more confident and competent. 

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