Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Problem Solving Leadership

In everyone's life, organization, community, and country there are problems, and amongst those groups there are typically good problem solving leaders--people who are unafraid to take the helm when problems arise, and people who utilize best possible problem solving skill, respect, and focus.

Who are those people in your community?

What do they do?

As I think about this, I am thinking about the times when snow storms or other weather events happen in our state. Generally state leaders do a great job when these events occur--they have a process in place to foster good communication and directives to keep people informed and safe. This has saved many lives--our state leaders are typically very good problem solvers.

Over time as a mom and family member, I've learned that it's best to deal with problems while they are small, and it's best not to bury problems, but instead talk about them. For example, there was a problem in my family recently--we all talked about it. Our conversations were respectful and forward thinking. We discussed how to handle the problem now and how to prevent such a problem in the future. It was much easier to talk about this problem while it was small rather than wait until it exploded into unexpected, hurtful results--while the problem was small, our family was able to mitigate potential future trauma related to this problem.

In some circumstances, people ignore problems. They skirt the issue and don't face the situation or instead treat problems with shame, blame, and disrespect which only serves to grow the problem more. We all have to be mindful of how we face problems. Do we shame and blame? Do we look for excuses? Or do we respect the problem and treat it with as much courage, honesty, respect, and good collaborative problem solving process as possible.

Fortunately there are not a lot of problems right at this moment in my life, and most of the problems I'm facing at this time are positive problems of how to improve aspects of life and learning at home and at school. For example positive problems I'm dealing with at school are how to deepen and better the physical science program and how to create a more hands-on project-based math program. These are positive problems that profit from collegial study and share, research, reading, and other study opportunities.  Another school problem I'm dealing with that's positive is how to better serve the students so that every child is getting what they need to flourish now and into the future--this is a limitless problem to consider, one that every educator can continue to work on.

Bottom line is that when we ignore problems or treat those problems with shame, blame, and disrespect, we waste time and make the problem bigger. We can see this happening on a national level every day as our President spends so much time with shame, blame, and disrespect rather than working with the best and brightest in honest, intelligent, and collaborative ways to truly move our country forward rather than leave us mired in divide and disrespect.

I want to be cognizant of the potential that positive problem solving leadership and effort holds for my own work and the work of others. I know that this is a positive focus. Onward.