“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
Leaders are problem solvers. When plans, equipment, people or systems breakdown, leaders step up to get things moving again. Great leaders train, mentor and empower their team members to solve problems too. Problems should be addressed and resolved as soon as possible by team members closest to the situation. Early intervention and even anticipation will help contain or avoid a problem before it gets out of hand. Small problems that go unnoticed our unattended can become big problems rather quickly.
Developing good systems and good people will help you avoid a lot of problems or at least solve them early on. However, it doesn’t really matter how good your systems and people are, some problems will work their way the whole way up to the top of the organization. These are the big problems and as the leader, it’s up to you to solve them. In times of crisis, people will look to the strongest leader to be the problem solver. There is an example of this in the life of the Apostle Paul on his voyage form Caesarea to Rome. The ship he was sailing on ran into trouble just off the coast of Malta.
No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. (Acts 27:21-22 NLT)
This is an action-filled story that would make a great movie. Paul took initiative in time of crisis and brought calm to the crew by giving them hope. He had given them advice earlier in the voyage that they had ignored. Now they were all ears! The ship was beginning to break apart and capsize. They had a big problem. It’s at that point that Paul steps up to lead the crew through the crisis. Everyone listened to him and followed him because he was a strong and confident leader. The story ends with no lives being lost.
Now it’s good to also note that more was at work here than just Paul’s courageous leadership. God was also at work and gave Paul the wisdom, strength and insight he needed for the moment. There’s a good lesson in this for all Christian leaders. Seeking divine wisdom and intervention should never be our “last resort”. It should always be the first thing we do every day.
Problems will arise in your organization today that will need to be solved. Hopefully you’ll have systems and people in place to take care of them. If the problem is too big for them and comes to you, step up and lead with confidence and dependence on God.