As anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes around firefighters is well aware, we are great at spotting issues...
what we sometimes need help with is being encouraged to provide solutions.
I was recently teaching a Leadership course and I was approached by one of the students at the break. They asked me if I was open to some constructive critisism. And the caveat was that they didn't want to enter a conversation about it but just wanted to voice their concern.
This struck me as a bit unusual but not everyone approaches these kind of conversations the same, and I was interested in the opinion to be offered.
The concern was that my presentation did not have enough representation of female leader role-models. I took a moment to process this and said," You are absolutely right! Thank you for identifying that for me. This needs to be corrected!"
As I reflected on this, my thought was 'who better to help me identify some inspirational women leaders than this individua'. So I asked,"I would love to hear your top 2-3 most appropriate examples". The answer I received was that they couldn't think of one at this very moment and that was one of the reasons they didn't want to have a conversation.
Now, I want to be perfectly clear - they were RIGHT. This was a gap in my presentation, without a doubt.
Where the "hiccup" happens is that this individual had no solution. This person was not called out unexpectedly. They spent time assessing the situation; they had time to recognize the issue; and they were on no timeline to bring it forward.
And yet they came to me with, what I like to call, a "drama-drive by"...."here's some shit, you deal with it".
As a good team member, you should never come to someone with a problem in one hand unless you have a proposal for the solution in the other. This may not be the one we go with.. but it may! And what it often does is open the door to collective brain-storming. And it shows an investment in the team and finding answers....and that's what we do. We commit to the team and we SOLVE problems.
So, the next time you are about to drop a "problem turd", make sure you have the "solution shovel" ready to go ...and I promise to do the same!
See you on the Road!