Why leaders need to define the real problem before fixing it by involving the team

Leaders everywhere, feel the frustration of taking action, only to find the problem doesn’t go away. Great leaders understand that taking the time to define a problem and getting to the root cause of the issue, before attempting to fix, it is an essential step in achieving success. Without the proper understanding of the issue and context, taking any sort of action might be just putting a sticking plaster on a wound that never heals. It might even exacerbate an existing situation. Defining a problem allows leaders to gain an understanding and clarity on the scope of their task, as well as build a basis for establishing goals and measuring progress. This ultimately leads to more efficient use of resources and greater results.

Leaders would do well to remember that smart problem-solving starts first with defining the real issue at hand.

We all love to fix things right?

Leaders often fall into the quick fix trap because it feels good. We often feel that we need to know what’s wrong with a situation and then quickly try to fix it to show our competence. But only fools rush in. A better approach is to first define the issue, by gathering relevant information and facts, asking questions and looking at multiple perspectives. Once you understand the true problem and it’s layers, then you can begin to craft effective solutions. Leaders who take extra time to accurately define their issues are much more likely to succeed in finding the best possible resolution.

And don’t try to do it alone

Leaders who involve their team in finding solutions tend to identify more underlying issues and potential solutions than those who operate independently. Inviting ideas might seem like it takes more time, but you are more likely to fix the issue first time. Gaining information and perspectives from multiple people can uncover many rich layers of issues, or create more solutions, enabling you to tailor solutions to the entire team’s needs and better handle challenging problems. By working together, the team can ensure that any resulting solutions or strategies will be carefully thought-out, effective, and thoroughly discussed in advance. Leaders that involve the team in problem-solving are likely to raise engagement and cultivate a stronger sense of understanding within their culture.

Get shared clarity of the problem

Leaders and teams are able to make better decisions when they share a common understanding of the problem. You would be surprised how often a group of people think they are discussing the same thing, but are a few degrees off. Leaders need to ensure everyone involved in the decision-making process is able to articulate their thoughts about the issue at hand and that everyone’s perspectives are taken into consideration. I like to encourage everyone then to write the problem statement on a wall or board, to keep it clear and focused in peoples minds during the discussion. We all know how easy it is to go off track.

A clear and shared understanding of the problem can give them the insight needed to form an effective solution. Leaders need to be intentional about fostering a culture of openness and respect so that team members feel comfortable speaking up with ideas, feedback, or solutions that arise during problem solving. Ultimately, having a deeper knowledge base will greatly improve your decision-making process and help lead you towards successful solutions.



Successful teams have the ability to use an effective problem-solving approach to create successful solutions. This involves taking into account all perspectives, fostering a culture of openness and respect, and having a deeper knowledge base. This allows team members to feel comfortable in voicing their ideas, feedback, or solutions while providing the necessary insight needed to form an

1. Building trust and encourage open communication within teams so they feel safe in sharing their problems and solutions. Leaders must create an environment where everyone feels comfortable in expressing their ideas, feedback or solutions, and being willing to listen objectively and with respect to each other’s opinions.

2. Encourage team members to ask questions and challenge each other’s solutions in a constructive and kind manner. This helps create a deeper understanding of the problem, leading to better decision-making and more effective results.

3. Developing a shared knowledge base is essential for teams to understand problems and seek solutions for themselves in future.

At 3WH, we believe that trust and being solutions focused are essential for a successful team. Our aim is to provide the tools and resources that your team needs to become more productive and efficient. We offer a range of services which will help your team build trust and be more focused on finding solutions.

Our services include personalised coaching, team building workshops and leadership development programs. We also provide tools to help teams quantify the cohesiveness of the team.

For more information on how 3WH can help your team become more solutions focused, contact hello@3wh.uk.com.