‘You don’t know a person until you see him go through adversity’

PROBLEMS are the best teachers in your leadership journey.

The greatest way to gain leadership is by problem solving, because people don’t like problems. But you have to learn what is your role as a leader in problem solving. Problems should be solved at the lowest level possible. The only problems you should get as a leader the ones that are the most difficult, the toughest or the most complex ones. But as for those I would also recommend you to rather facilitate the problem solving instead of doing it by yourself. As a leader your role is more about looking for problems that occur at systemic level. The clue for those is the pattens. Read more about pattern recognition skills for leaders here: http://beatakalamar.com/blog/systemic-approach/pattern-recognition-skills-for-leaders.

When I am profiling there are fundamentally two types of leaders when it comes to problem solving. The ones who see problems as challenges. They ignite them. They can hardly wait to tackle them. In fact, if there is no challenge, they will create one. Or there are the ones who see challenges as problems. They drain their energy and keep them awake at night. They feel the weight and burden of the problems heavily most of the time.

What PROBLEMS are by John C. Maxwell

  • Problems are PREDICTORS. Nothing predicts who you are more than problems.
  • Problems are REMINDERS. They remind you that life is not easy, not supposed to be and never designed to be easy. 
  • Problems are OPPORTUNITIES. There have never been any opportunities given to you that has not surrounded by problems beforehand.
  • Problems are BLESSINGS. They cause you to rely on others to help you, help you to understand that you are not enough to do it yourself.
  • Problems are LESSONS. They teach you. Every problem has a lesson within it.
  • Problems are EVERYWHERE. Everyone has problems.
  • Problems are MESSAGES. They are sending you a message that you have to change something.
  • Problems are SOLVABLE. Problems lead you to somewhere, where are possibilities.

Problems also introduces us to ourselves, to others and to opportunities.

1) Problems introduces us to ourselves

Best lessons learnt from hard times. YES! We learn more from our problems and failures than from our successes. For example, you can learn people skills by dealing with difficult people. You learn more about forgiveness when you need someone to forgive you. You learnt to take care of yourself when you got sick, really sick perhaps had a heart attack. And you learn more about leadership when you realize your people are not following you.

2) Problems introduces us to others

How you and others handle problems tells you a lot about who you are and who they are. I love this quote: “You don’t know a person until you see him go through adversity.” Now we are learning a lot about ourselves and each other in these days.

There are people who attracts problems, they called the problem magnets. People with problems come to this person and dump their problems with them, because they like it and accept it. Are you like one of those? Or are you a problem dumper?

3) Problems introduces us to opportunities

Problems and opportunities always come side by side. Are you problem focused or opportunity focused? There is a way you move from problem to opportunity: 1) First you have to embrace the problem. 2) Search for the answer. If you don’t believe it, you will not find it. You have to believe it, because there is always an answer. Once a leader of mine taught me ‘If there is a will there is always a way.’ 3) You find the opportunity, when you are searching for the answer. You will always find it. Also, the quickest way to solve a problem while searching for answers is to get different perspectives on the problem. Don’t hold onto your problems.

"Leadership is not about you finding the answers. It is about you keep the ball moving and you keep the organisation moving forward."

What have you been learning about yourself through this difficult time?

What messages have you been receiving recently about what you need to change?

Where is your focus?


Source: Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 by John C. Maxwell

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