Every community is going to have to deal with problems. There can be issues around the best practices in communication or organization. For volunteer groups, a common concern revolves around responsibility for parts of a task. The person who drops the ball on a project may have had no idea that he or she was supposed to be holding it. Here are some practices that leaders can use to solve the problems that are bound to happen.
Active listening is a very important tool for problem-solving in a community, especially when the problem has caused stress or hurt feelings. This practice is often used when a problem has come to light and more information is needed. As a leader, your job is to hear what the person is saying without trying to correct, judge, or give advice. Instead, to increase understanding, your main part in the conversation is to repeat what the other person has said in your own words. People who are upset will feel heard and tempers cool down. Now the group is ready to face the problem in a rational way.
Find the Real Problem
Often, what people experience as a problem is a symptom of a larger issue. A failure in communication on a project may reflect systemic communication issues. A fishbone diagram is a tool that is frequently used in problem-solving. The fishbone diagram helps leaders identify the root problem by prompting the leader to ask questions that dig deeper into the issue at hand. Participants can then break the problem down into pieces, eventually getting to the real problem that needs to be addressed.
Develop Solutions with Measurable Goals
It is not unusual for groups to deal with problems by handling the immediate symptoms. This may help them get through the current project, but it will not prevent the same problem from sprouting up in projects down the line. Solutions to complex root problems often require an action plan. There may be several steps to solving a large problem. As the group considers each of these steps, it is helpful to have a measurable goal attached. These kinds of measurements help the group know that, even though the problem may not be solved yet, they are working in the right direction.
Solving problems is a critical skill for leaders in any organization. By breaking problems down and discovering root issues, big problems become much more manageable. Problems do not need to divide your group. By working together, Church Communications can help you solve problems and become closer as a community.