Being a leader comes with a lot of responsibility. You want to bring out the best in your team and develop a culture that embraces and encourages adaptability, creativity, innovation and problem solving. As business and technology continue to evolve, you want your team to be flexible to change. It’s an admirable goal to strive for but how do you actually make it happen? We explore some of the best ways to encourage better problem solving skills.
1. Create a safe environment for sharing.
What good are amazing ideas if your team is too shy or afraid to share them? Strive to establish a safe, open environment for your staff to share. It may seem extreme to say your staff may be afraid to present new strategies or ideas but it’s not a far leap. Many employees report that they are less likely to share when their boss has a history of negative reactions.
Fear of rejection holds back real progress. Try to control your reaction when fresh ideas are presented, even those you may not agree with. Take time to listen, think and give the idea room to breathe. Ask questions and seek to understand before you respond. Constantly solving problems for everyone is exhausting and unsustainable. But your team can never rise to the occasion unless you give them the space to solve their own day-to-day problems and struggles.
2. Stop micro-managing.
Take a step back. If you’re constantly interfering and micro-managing, you’ll not only burn yourself out but you’ll also communicate to your team that you don’t trust their ability to perform. Micro-managing shows a lack of confidence. Let your team know you trust them and have confidence in their ability to solve problems on their own, without constant oversight. Assure your team you are there as a resource and support but empower your employees to take the lead.
When you’re in a comfortable work pattern, it can be tricky to self-examine to learn if you’re micromanaging. What type of manager are you? Not sure if you’re a micro-manager? Ask someone you trust for feedback. It’s better to be held accountable now and make necessary changes to yourself than to move forward making the same mistakes, breeding a resentful and distrustful work environment.
3. Try new things.
Problem solving is all about framing. You want your team to be able to look at issues in new ways, from different angles. Gaining perspective is part of problem solving and flexible thinking. Encourage your employees to step out of the box. It’s easy to become mired in the daily goings on, getting comfortable in a bubble. Shake things up. Mix up teams. Swap groups. It may be uncomfortable at first but employees will gain confidence when they tackle the challenge.
Try team building activities. Puzzles and games are a fun way to encourage problem solving. The portable escape room from Escape Room Races is an engaging, exciting team building event. Not only will employees work on their communication, they’ll also work together to accomplish a goal, solving challenges along the way. The mobile escape room services are available in many locations including indoor and outdoor team building events in Orlando, Las Vegas, Chicago and more. Encouraging team building and bonding with fun and games creates memories but also accomplishes your goal of problem solving growth.
4. Never stop learning.
Education never stops. Find ways to implement new learning opportunities. Like the team building events and portable escape rooms mentioned above, think of fun methods to expand horizons and test professional and personal skills. It doesn’t have to be traditional book learning or ecourses, either. Board games, video games, puzzles, contests — the sky is the limit. There are many opportunities to brighten their day and their minds.
Education works both ways. Don’t just focus on passing on knowledge to others, neglecting yourself. You want to stay ahead of the curve. Be approachable and listen to your team. Their input is extremely valuable and helps make you a better leader. Staying up to date with business insights and changes in the competitive landscape is essential. When you’re all thinking with a business and growth perspective, progress is certain.
5. Don’t linger on failure.
It’s great to have high expectations for yourself and your employees. However, failure and missteps are inevitable. The key is in your response. While mistakes and misfires are frustrating, responding with anger is not constructive. Take a step back and discuss what went wrong and why. Perspective can help avoid the same failures in the future. Celebrate accomplishments and avoid lingering on failures. Positive reinforcement is far more beneficial and empowering.