Stop thinking of yourself as a problem solver and start being a problem giver.

Would you like to be the kind of leader that others like to work with and for?  Do you want to lead a team that is engaged and collaborative? Are you looking to enhance buy-in and commitment to projects? You may need to study the way that you approach problems with your team.

Excellent leaders know that people are more committed to solutions and plans when they have an active role in creating them. Excellent leaders know that people like their own ideas the most and strive to let team members participate in problem solving as much as possible. You can greatly benefit from sharing with your team the problem as you perceive it and turning them loose to come up with creative and insightful solutions.

Of course, this approach requires trust in your team. The good news is that when you turn problems over to your team, they will feel that trust and often rise to the occasion.  This approach also requires that you are able to instill critical thinking skills within your team so that the solutions they present are realistic and take into account constraints such as budgets, time, policies, etc….

When you turn a problem over to your team it doesn’t mean that you abandon your leadership role. Your role will be to guide. Ask smart questions of your team members and allow them to answer. Instead of answering those questions for them, allow your team members to develop their critical thinking skills. Ask open-ended questions such as, “How will you handle x?” or, “What’s the timeline look like?” This will help them grow and develop as professionals.

As soon as you stop thinking of yourself as a problem solver and start being a problem giver you also increase your return on talent investment. Each team member has unique strengths, talents, insights, experiences that they can put to good use in your organization if given a chance.  They will come up with powerful solutions that may never have crossed your mind. And, they will be more committed to implementing those solutions.

Are you currently facing an issue that you could turn over to your team or a team member? Start small if this is a new approach for you.  Build trust as you build skills.  Provide your team members a chance to be the problem solvers and experience greater buy-in, commitment and employee engagement.

For more powerful communication resources, visit Pamela’s success store.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.