One of my favorite things about my years spent in student ministry is the culture that was built. There were many fond moments as lives were being shaped and molded! One of the most fun things that came out of developing our culture were little “isms” that are formed. Part of the culture we developed was hard work. We would tirelessly hustle to get things done and often we found creative ways to problem solve. A term that we often used and lived by in those days was “Don’t tell me the problem tell me solution.” You see, I had trained our student leaders that they were not allowed to tell me about a problem until they tried several ways to solve it. If they came to me with a problem I would simply ask what they did to figure it out, or I would ask what they had tried. As stern as it may have sounded, rather than bailing them out, I taught them how to problem solve. Today some of those students are some of the most competent adults I know.
Problem solving is one of the most important aspects of leadership. Often times we will have to know how to find quick, innovative, quality solutions. Here are few things that will help you grow in solving problems.
“Don’t tell me the problem
tell me solution.”
5 Ways to Grow Problem Solving Skills
1. Grow in Discernment.
When God allows you to be in a leadership role, He also equips you with a level of discernment. The only way you are going to grow in that is by having the courage to move forward in your discernment. Leaders can see what others can’t see. Problems and solutions. Not to just see the problem, but to quickly figure out the why behind it is even better. Start taking a birds eye view to all of the challenges you face as a leader. Open your eyes and ask God to bring clarity to your objective view.
2. Take responsibility.
Anybody can find a problem, leaders find solutions. John Maxwell says, “Leaders can give up anything but final responsibility.” If you see a problem, even if it is not in your area of expertise, jump in and own it.
I can't tell you how many times I have been an attendee or a guest at a event and (after asking for permission) jumped behind a sound booth or a media center to figure how to make audio or video work properly. I might not be able to help, but I figure if the right person isn't there then I have to at least try to be that person. It’s what leaders do. We see problems as opportunities to contribute.
3. Do whatever it takes.
A friend I used to serve on staff with, Seth Wolverton, would often pipe up anytime we talked about accomplishing a big job. He would say, “Let’s make it happen.” His approach always lifted the standard and the morale of the team. It’s what leaders do. We start early, finish late, and do whatever it take to get the job done. Leaders exhaust every option to accomplish the objective. At times is inconvenient, but we didn't sign up up for convenience. We are running with a mission that is bigger than ourselves.
Some may disagree, but in my experience I have seen the “whatever it takes” approach actually gets easier with time. It kind of becomes part of your nature after you make the necessary investment on the front end. Once you become a whatever it takes person, it is not as laborious.
4. Refuse to make excuses.
Another “ism” we would say in our student ministry was “Stop making excuses and start making arrangements!” Excuses will always end progression, we will never move forward, nor will our organizations move forward, if we have an excuse to why it is not.
“Stop making excuses &
start making arrangements!”
There is almost always a way to accomplish what you set out to do. Sometimes that way has not been discovered yet. Be a creative learner. Ask God to fill you with creative solutions to accomplish what He wants to do with and through you. Don’t ask the Lord to bail you out! Sometimes the old way won't work because God wants to show you a new way. Remember: Necessity the mother of invention.