Style of management effect on problem solving
The major things a manager can do I stimulate and support good problem solving are:
People who have responsibility for and control over the work feel a greater commitment to ensuring that they work efficiently. Staff should be given the freedom to mal decisions and to tackle problems without constantly having to get agreement from their manager. Some managers feel that this lessens their control over staff and their work. In fact, because people are more committed to their work, their is less need for control.
Ensure good communications
Make sure that everyone knows about and has easy access to information about the company's business objectives, its markets and its current problems.
Set high standards of achievement
This not only provides a stimulating challenge for staff to use problem solving to improve their efficiency, but it also creates an environment where individuals feel that only the best is acceptable, so they begin to set their own high standards. In setting standards it's vital that individuals know exactly what minimum standard they are expected to achieve in particular tasks.
Undue criticisism of ideas has two effects. People soon learn not to waste their time suggesting ideas when they know they will get a rebuff and, more insidiously, they become over-cautious in their thinking, concentrating on the flaws in an idea before it is even developed.
You should listen carefully to people so ideas and not reject them without careful consideration. Even if they appear impractical at first, perhaps theyi could be adapted and improved. When ideas do turn out to be completely impractical, explain to the person concerned why it would not work.
If there are standard rules and procedures in the organisation which hinder problem solving don't enforce them unless absolutely necessary. .
Encourage risk-taking in situations where the consequences of failure can be tolerated
To find original, innovative solutions to problems people need the freedom to experiment and this is inherently risky. Remember, ideas are not actions so even the most outlandish ideas can be tolerated without harm. Risk-taking can be actively encouraged, by suggesting to people that they look for unusual solutions to a situation, or passively, by ensuring that you do not harshly criticise ideas which are obviously impractical.
This is achieved by using a variety of tactics, eg
Give recognition for good ideas
We all need reward for our efforts and it's important that people know there will be greater reward for innovative solutions to problems than for regular solutions. As well as recognition and appreciation another type of reward is for people to see their ideas implemented.
Provide 'time out' for problem solving
While some people find being under pressure of work or a deadline a stimulus to problem solving, others find it a hindrance and need to feel relaxed. People should be given the opportunity to spend time free from the pressures of other work to tackle important problems.
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