Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Handle problems effectively

Do you shy away from handling problems? In a recent Leadership Management Institute newsletter, there is a great article titled Productive Handling of Problems that offers tips on addressing problems. The techniques may seem basic, but look how much trouble we get into when get away from the basics (of any endeavor) in dealing with others. The techniques are:

Be a good listener. Never interrupt while team members are talking, even if you disagree with the opinions expressed. Complaints often dissolve when people simplyhave a chance to talk about them.

Ask questions. Your questions indicate interest and a desire for more information. You may uncover underlying causes or related problems. Open-ended questions like, “Why do you think we have this problem?” or “What do you think the solution might be?” accomplish more than closed questions that elicit only a “yes” or “no.” Through asking good questions, you communicate that you do not unfairly prejudge people or situations.

Do not argue. Present any information you have in a persuasive manner rather than an argumentative one. Arguing builds resistance and makes employees become determined to have their way regardless of facts. Asking questions can be an effective tool for disarming a potential argument. Your point of view is more persuasive when you demonstrate that you can see the bigger picture and that you refuse to be drawn into an argument.

Make sure you understand. Some people have difficulty expressing themselves, so you must use all your questioning and listening skills to make sure you understand their position. If they go away convinced you do not see their point, you have not helped them resolve the issue. Restate, summarize, and ask additional questions to make sure you understand their point
of view.

Treat employees with respect. Ridicule or comments that minimize a person’s concern are powerful and devastating and have no place in management. If you attempt to make someone
else feel foolish, you destroy the lines of communication and trust. Let others save face and retreat gracefully.

Let the person know when to expect a response from you. Your commitment to give an answer shows that you are taking the problem seriously and will investigate. Many times, the problem can be settled on the spot, and the sooner the better.

Gather the facts. If you cannot make a decision during the meeting, check the team member’s story, refer to employment agreements or other important documents, and – if appropriate – consult with higher management before making a final decision.

Make a decision. Once you make a decision, stick to it firmly – even if it is unpopular – unless new evidence that deserves consideration is presented.

Explain your decision. If your decision is distasteful to the team member, explain it and answer questions. Team members may not agree and may appeal your decision, but they will respect you for your stand.

Thank the team member. Express your appreciation for the person’s willingness to communicate openly about problems. This encourages even more open communication
in the future.


Volume I, Number 12
The LMI Journal is published for Leadership Management Institute by Rutherford
Publishing, 7570 FM 1123 #19B, Belton,Texas 76513, 1-800-815-2323, E-mail: Website: Copyright © 2007
Rutherford Publishing. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced in whole or
part in any form without the written permission of the publisher.
Publisher: Ronnie Marroquin
Managing Editor: Kimberly Denman
LMI Editor: Staci Dalton

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