Successful Team Problem Solving Strategies
“Happy teams are all alike; every unhappy team is unhappy in its own way.” Or is this how Leo Tolstoy said it?
Making a good team that works together towards the same goal is the key to success for any company. Bringing people together and investing in them, building relationships among teammates is something that differs successful companies from the unsuccessful ones. However, even the best of the teams out there have occasional misunderstandings that can lead to severe problems if not treated properly. When such things happen, managers should be the ones who should be the buffer zone, capable of hearing everyone out and finding the right solutions. And we agree they take the hardest task. Sometimes we feel like they have superpowers.
We often tend to forget they are also people with their strengths and weaknesses and that those kinds of situations can drain an impressive amount of their energy. We decided to investigate what are the most efficient team problem-solving strategies and help managers out. To find out more, read below!
Identify the problem
How are you going to solve the problem if you don’t know what exactly the problem is? That’s why you should make identifying the question on top of your priorities. And while you’re doing it, don’t forget that there are many sides of it. Every single person involved in it has its own view of the situation. Make sure you hear everyone out and let them realise their voice is heard and their opinion matters. Even if you don’t precisely agree on them, make sure they feel validated and that they question.
Be sure you count everyone’s interest
Just like everyone has its own view of the problem, everyone has its personal interest involved in it too! And this is something that shouldn’t be overlooked in the whole problem-solving process. Sometimes (actually in most of the cases) you just cannot give one universal solution to a problem shared by teammates. And that’s the point where most mistakes are made. To really solve some issue you need to understand everyone’s interest in it and offer a custom made solution to each team member. Try considering why each team member might be unhappy about and put yourself in each team member’s shoes.
Remember to take notes
Fools remember; however, smart ones take notes. We are often unaware of the fact we tend to add our personal interpretations to the events and stories someone is telling us. And we know it’s hard to stay 100 per cent objective, even when you have the best intention to do so. To help you out with this, we suggest you take notes. You don’t have to make the extensive list about everything someone is telling you, but make sure you have some bullet points written down. That way you will be more able to determine the objectives and offer the best possible solution.
Don’t go on the blame game lane
Besides being nasty and entirely unprofessional, finger pointing never brings any good to the problem-solving process. You can spend days trying to figure out who made a mistake, but it’s always important to remember that it takes two to tango. Instead of blaming one sole person for the current problem make sure your approach is resolution centred. And try involving everyone in it. Doing like this you will only boost your employee’s engagement.
Don’t be a Debbie Downer
Lamenting over missed opportunities, unfulfilled dreams and unused potential never did some good to anybody. The best thing about successful team problem-solving strategies is that they make you find the solution and do it with a positive spirit. Try approaching problems with a smile and a positive attitude. Even if other teammates think it’s unsolvable or they hit their breaking point, when they see you positively approaching them they will be more chance they will become more relaxed and become more open to finding the solution. Next time you see it, just try it!
Make sure you follow up
Even the most reasonable solutions may fail in practice. That’s why it is so crucial for you to keep track of the results of your decisions. No matter how much you think your decision is right and how much reasons you have to prove it, to resolve any problem among teammates you need to keep track of them and in which way decisions you’ve made affected their work.
Don’t be a mama hen
There is a thin line between being an understanding boss to micromanaging one. You don’t need to babysit your workers, and not every problem needs to be addressed by you. Just like mothers let their kids resolve their fights, you need to make your team find common ground by themselves. Give them autonomy; however, let them know they can turn to you if they ever feel threatened or unsure.
Organise team buildings
Team buildings are gold for any team’s success. On such occasions, people are able to get to know each other more closely and develop relationships outside of the office. You don’t have to go all and beyond and send your team to a fancy resort. Occasional happy Friday or office games can help people loosen up. Once they know their coworkers better, any problem will be easier to solve.
Talk it trough
When some problem occurs, it’s always better to address it publicly. Putting things under the rug never did any good, and you should always try to resolve them by hearing everyone out. After talking with the teammates individually try to organise one group meeting where everybody can hear their coworker’s side of the story without interruption. You, as a manager, can be a moderator and the one who will make sure everyone is heard.
Set the values straight
People can become really insecure when some problems among them occur. Some people tend to see the manager as someone who has to pick a side, and their fear of being on the shorter end may arise at this moment. To solve any problem among teammates in a successful way make sure everyone’s clear about their position in a company. Successful companies are always, and they take pride in making everyone’s comfortable working there. Make sure everyone feels safe and valued. Let your workers know you appreciate their work and care about them individually and approach everyone with the same level of respect and appreciation
Groupthink is the silent killer
Have you heard about this term so far? If you didn’t let us explain it to you. Groupthink is when a group favours one point of view in favour of another to make a fake sense of harmony. This means that one group of people stays unhappy and that their voice is muted forever. Make a culture where everyone gets to speak and express its opinion. Differences bring people together, and you should respect them and value them!
Don’t try to change anybody
Like in a relationship, you should never try to change your coworker. Even if you have the best intentions on your mind people will only end up feeling suffocated and repressed. And ultimately it will end up in resentment. Instead of trying to change somebody, make sure you stay open to everybody and be more understanding of everybody’s personality and point of view.
Teamwork is hard
… but it’s also the most beautiful part of the job too. Meeting and working with coworkers is like travelling to an exotic country and meeting new and exciting people. Those are the people you don’t choose to be with, with whom you might (but often might not) share interests and opinions. However, those differences, when approached with an open mind can be an incredible asset and a window to a whole, yet the unexplored world. Your teammates are your second family, make sure you get along with them and that you resolve any problems in the best possible ways. By following our tips, you will succeed without a doubt.
Aleksandra is a Digital Marketing Manager at Vacation Tracker, with a passion for traveling. When she’s not at her laptop, you can find her reading Harry Potter books or on LinkedIn, where she likes to share her knowledge of everything marketing-related.