Solution-oriented Management

Categories: Management

By Michael Patterson | August 24, 2022 << Back to Articles Solution-oriented Management

It is almost inconceivable, in today’s society, to find an individual who allows change in their personal life without participating in the direction of the proposed change. Transfer this same individual into a work-related situation, and he or she is forced to accept a new role.

Organizational leaders have the innate ability to define for employees the limits and direction they must take to survive. Often management teams shun the suggestion process, which can be the initial step in determining organizational goals. We insist that the individual exist within the organization’s petrified forest.

Overcome frozen management control

In most areas of business each day, you can readily identify frozen management control. For example, some organizations may immobilize policies and make them inflexible to change. Department managers and supervisors are busy conducting their day-to-day functions, making use of self-imposed ideas of what management should be, rather than directing this energy toward a planned environment of employee satisfaction.

Individual employees must be allowed to carry over a portion of their personal life into each position. Personal involvement tends to create job character, which lends itself to employee satisfaction.

All too often, the cry is heard that those who work under certain managers or supervisors, suffer from a lack of opportunity and freedom in the decision-making process. Individual employees have the capability of creative thinking.

However, as managers, we suggest to those employees that they separate their personal inhibitions from their work-related situation. I recommend reading Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as an option.

As managers, we believe that we unselfishly and diligently put forth special efforts to challenge our subordinates. Given the opportunity, managers delight in developing a sophisticated concept or goal to be carried out by subordinates. This allows us to reinforce our positions as managers by exhibiting that we have the ability to control the internal circumstances within our respective departments.

This lack of positive action is supported by the silence of top management. This philosophy and behavior is ineffective and only serves to hinder progress toward expected results.

Replace problems with solutions

If this mysterious thing called management motivation and communication is to survive, we will need to develop upon one of our greatest assets, which is the ability to plan for a solution-oriented department. The word “solution” is defined as the “method or process of solving a problem.” If we are to capitalize on the changing environment, we must first go from a problem-oriented department to a solution-oriented one. That’s the key.

A solution-oriented department, by its sheer nature, will insist that you remove the word “problem” and substitute the words “current situation.” The word “problem” automatically points out individual rejection and lack of understanding in dealing with a given situation. Again, by changing the word “problem” to “current situation,” it suggests that change is in order, which allows creative and innovative thinkers to come into the arena of participation. My advice is to look at it as an opportunity to improve.

You may be able to think of an individual that had approached you and stated an existing problem. Maybe you became defensive, not understanding how this situation could have occurred or was even allowed; many have experienced this. All too often, many hours are invested in debating how the problem occurred or came into existence rather than focusing that same energy on the expected results with a solution that will address and correct the problem. That’s where your focus should be.

The words “current situation” will bring into focus the current standing of where you are. This may allow you to retrace the possibility of how you arrived at the current situation. If you take the time to list the ingredients which brought you to the current situation, you may find built into your situation a possible solution that may lean towards your expected results.

After listing your ingredients for the current situation, you can weave them together. This is where success or failure begins. Blend communication, written or verbal, using personal freedom in your choice of words.

Build a solution-oriented department

You must realize that in order to achieve the solution-oriented department and expected results, you could easily lose ground on your preconceived ideas of management’s established boundaries. I have learned over the years that communicating to your entire team is essential, regardless of positions. This helps to builds a participative environment.

After your team becomes aware of the fact that you are now involving those collective minds outside of your office door, you will, no doubt, find that many employees will retreat to a problem-oriented department rather than a solution-oriented department. This simply means that some of your team may work exceptionally hard to complicate the expected results. Most employees are concerned about their work environment.

Good leaders will capitalize on the changing environment early in the management game. This offers you and your employees’ maximum mileage in developing inter-personal growth, contributing to a promising future.

Management is no secret. It holds no hidden solution unless we, as managers, allow creativity to exist within our fellow workers. If management creativity is to exist, the individual manager must step aside and allow those persons comprising the management team and workforce to perform their job.

Finally, it is particularly important that you consider building a department involving your teams. Take time and build a solution-based and results-driven department. You will relinquish no control by creating a solution-oriented department. This may be the spark to energize your team and department.

About the Author.

Michael Patterson, executive director of IEHA, a division of ISSA, has almost three decades of leadership experience within IEHA. His IEHA mission is empowering members through education.