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Leadership Skills: Suggestions for problem solving in the midst of conflict
Make Sure You Understand the Problem Correctly
A friend of mine used to work as tech support specialist in the computer industry. All day long he would work with and listen to people who just couldn't make their machines do what they wanted them to do. In a business that featured constant technological innovation, my friend says that he always focused on one thing: making sure that he understood the problem correctly. No matter if the problem was bad software or a fractured network connection, a few extra minutes trying to get the situation clear in his mind was always worthwhile.
My friend knew one important ingredient in problem solving: He had a much better chance of teaching himself how to find a particular answer than he did learning all the ins and outs of every software and network solution that his company offered. Because of his focus on understanding, he attended to his customers. He listened to them and then acted once he fully understood the situation. His approach had the added side benefit of increasing his chances of finding a successful solution.
What opportunities would this approach offer to church leaders? The time invested at the beginning of a problem solving process will insure that the entire leadership team has a clear picture of the challenge can take full ownership of the issue. This step alone often points toward one clear solution. The extra investment of time also encourages digging beneath the surface of the issue and minimizes the chance some will seek to deny the severity of the issue.
Investing that extra time in the face of a crisis can be a challenge. When needs are pressing, some may seek a quicker, more reactive approach. But as my friend would tell you, committing a little extra time at the beginning of a crisis might seem slower, but the rate at which healing occurs and progress is made speeds up as action is taken. Clear understanding provides solid insight into what action(s) might be appropriate so that timely and effective results can be generated.
Stewardship Resources Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 8765 West Higgins Road, Chicago, IL 60631. Any part of Salt Seasonings can be reproduced for local use with attribution.
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Adam Copeland serves as director of the Center for Stewardship Leaders.
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