As leaders, we are accustomed to solving problems. Our problem-solving abilities might be one of the key reasons that we are viewed as leaders. Not only are we good at solving problems, but we are also good at identifying them!
That said, it is worthwhile to ask whose problems we are solving. There is more to this question than the obvious.
When we jump in to solve a problem, we often rush to judgement. We tend to focus on problems as we see them, or as they impact us. Sometimes we see problems that don’t actually exist. When we step in to solve other people’s problems, we become owners of the problem, and of the results. Even if other people are helping, when we are the ones doing, those other people have lost ownership over the process and are learning dependency.
However, when we are present and when we listen, we can help people to identify their own problems, and to develop strategies for solving them. As helpers, we allow them to own the problem and results, but our support enhances the chances that they will be successful.
This can be thought of as leading from behind. When leading from behind, we ask the questions that help others identify their problems clearly and to come up with strategies to overcome them.
Ultimately, this form of leadership helps people to grow and creates a culture in which people and the organization can thrive.
Do good and be well,