8 Ways to Handle Problems

Leaders solve problems. Here are 8 ways we can, too.

8 Ways to Handle Problems
📷 Mel Poole

Want to earn that promotion?
Looking for more responsibilities?
Aspiring to be a better leader?

Learn how to solve problems.
The gnarlier the problem, the better.
It's how most leaders become leaders.

Barbara Corcoran said: "Without problems to solve, we couldn't grow."

Teddy Roosevelt said: "Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining."

Peter Drucker said: "Don't solve problems, pursue opportunities."

Here are 8 proven ways to manage problems.
Read them. Write them down. Apply them.
Soon, you'll be lethal at problem-solving.


1. Find two solutions before escalating the problem.
Give authorities easy options to choose from.
Better to hear them say, "Go with Option B."

2. Always put your name on the list of excuses.
It's easy to blame everything and everyone.
Often, it's us who are in the way.

3. See the problem as it is, not worse.
Don't mind how people "might" react.
Stop gauging how people think and feel.

4. Stay calm, cool, and confident.
People are watching how you respond.
Show that you've got it handled.  

5. Break problems into small pieces.
Zoom-out to see them from high above.
Solve piece 1, then piece 2, and so on.

6. The Pyramid Principle starts with the answer.
Then it groups and summarizes supporting cases.
Finally, it puts ideas in order using logic.

7. Buy and read Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko.
It contains dozens of creative exercises.
Puzzles, charts, drawings, and deep Sun Tzu quotes.

8. Determine the degree of urgency and importance.
Urgent doesn't always mean important, and vice versa.
Study the Eisenhower Matrix.

Are there more than 8 proven ways?
Of course there are, silly!
But these 8 get you on the path.

Lean on them when things go south.
People will freak out but you won't.
Before you know it...

- you'll solve 90% of problems on your own
- your expertise will be sought by others
- and you'll elevate from where you are today.  

That's how you earn the promotion.
And how you take on more responsibilities.
Without question, it'll absolutely make you a better leader.