Don’t Sweep Problems Under the Rug
Managing problems is an aspect of every leader’s job. But I don’t know many leaders who really enjoy it. And who can blame them? Whether it’s an interpersonal conflict between two co-workers, a bug affecting your company’s computer systems, or an aspect of your products or services that aren’t delivering as expected, problems crop up and can wreak havoc if we let them fester, becoming bigger than they should. So when problems arise that may potentially impact results, don’t ignore them. Instead, develop and practice great habits around problem solving. As we talk about in MAP’s newly released book, The Disciplined Leader, it sometimes takes courage and guts. It’s an aspect of leadership that will positively impact your entire organization.
Here are three vital areas in which it pays for leaders to build effective habits around problem solving:
Workplace conflict. No one wants to deal with it when team members are working against rather than with each other. But such conflicts can suck time, energy, and other resources away from people’s performance and productivity, which ultimately costs your company money. When problems arise between team members that affect getting the job done, let them know it’s not acceptable. Ask them to fix the issue and if warranted, be prepared to hold them accountable to settling their conflict.
Employee performance. You’re not alone if you don’t like to deal with employee performance issues. For most of us, it is the least favorite part of the job. The key is to take the poor performer head on—for the benefit of the employee and all those who work with him/her. The reality is that the poor performing employee deserves to understand the situation so they can develop corrective actions to get back on course. Most employees want to understand how they are performing, where they rate, and sometimes they just need to know what they don’t know. It’s your job to tell them, and then hold them accountable to their success. Sweep employee performance issues under the rug, however, and the consequences can become unnecessarily tough.
Customer service. Sometimes processes break down with our customers. It’s just the nature of business. But in today’s world and given the power of social media, a weak link in the customer service process can destroy your company’s reputation overnight. In fact, it can bring it to its knees. Your clients/customers are part of your vital few. You need them and can’t survive without them. So if there are problems with meeting their expectations, fervently work to resolve them. Don’t just do a quick, easy fix. Find the right fix. That’s how you keep those vital fans happy and loyal to you. And, it’s how you keep your competitive edge.
What do you tend to sweep under the rug—how have you made changes for the better?