Are You A Problem Solver?

I still remember my first promotion to a manager’s role. I was promoted to Property Manager of Savannah Sound. Savannah Sound was a 120-unit apartment community in Florida. I had a team of three employees. I was extremely excited. That excitement did not last long. As soon as I was announced manager there was a line including residents, vendors, other departments, my team, and my supervisor ready to list all the problems associated with the property. It did not take me long to realized my job was to solve problems. More importantly, if I did not solve problems I would not be the manager long.

Young Businesswoman
I quickly narrowed the list down to my three biggest threats and ranked them in order of importance.

  1.  Team Morale: Previous manager was not very friendly or supportive
  2.  Low Occupancy: Occupancy percentage was in the 80’s
  3.  Missing Budget: The property was not generating the proper cash flow

You may be questioning why I ranked missing budget as my third priority. Most people would attack this first. Let me tell you why it was last on my list. Without a happy team that enjoyed working with each other there was no way we were going to be able to wow our residents and prospective renters with great customer service. If we could not make our residents happy and close on prospective renters our occupancy was not going anywhere. With low occupancy there was no possible way for me to generate cash flow. I had to solve my morale and occupancy issues first.

Along with my team, we identified solutions and formulated a plan. My team flourished and we reached our goals. I gave them all the credit for our success. My reward was my next promotion. I use this approach in every job I take on.

How others measure you as a leader will be based on your ability to solve problems for your team and organization. Over the years people have asked me how to earn promotions and further their career. My answer, simply be a better problem solver. You become extremely valuable as you improve your ability to quickly identify and lead teams to solve problems. Below is a list of six steps to solving problems.

Six Steps To Solving Problems

  1. Narrow down to the highest priority problems/threats
  2. Clearly communicate the problems and consequences to your team
  3. Brainstorm with your team for possible solutions
  4. Formulate your solutions into a plan
  5. Provide continuous follow-up and status updates
  6. Reward team for accomplishing the mission

Leadership is about identifying problems; then, coaching and inspiring others to solve them as a team. Whether you are managing a team of two or two thousand, you were hired to solve problems. If you want to increase your value within your organization and open up the doors of opportunity become an effective problem solver.

I can’t wait to hear from you! What problems are you facing? How do you solve problems? How much of your day is consumed with just solving problems? As a leader how valuable is a problem solver on your team?

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About Kareem Slater

Kareem Slater is a leadership coach, trainer, & speaker. Founder of The Purple Approach. Helps organizations lead and engage their team by focusing on their Mission Statement and Core Values. Uses his passion to help others grow their leadership skills and accomplish their career goals.

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