Problems come to a manager in all sizes and shapes, and almost always, in a never-ending queue. It is better that a manager perceives this phenomenon in a positive way. Sir John Harvey-Jones says that a manager without a problem is a manager without a job. But indeed there is a way to deal with management problems. The manager must develop a mental attitude and culture in which dealing with problems becomes a matter of routine. He must cultivate the habit of anticipating problems and working out solutions for them. He must develop the disposition of a doctor, who is treating the disease of a patient.
To establish a routine, it is necessary to evolve a model. The model will help the manager to proceed in a logical sequence of thought process. It will enable him in terms of an analytical framework A problem is not always prima facie what it appears to be. Usually, there is more to it than meets the eye. The problem that is being brought to the attention of the manager is more often only the symptom of a deeper and underlying malady. Hence, it is vital to unravel the real cause of the problem to arrive at an enduring solution.
Sometimes, the so called problem may not be a problem at all; but only the result of a miscommunication or a misunderstanding. Therefore, it is necessary at the outset to define the problem-if there is one-and define it precisely. The next step is to examine and evaluate the various available and alternative solutions to the problem. While several solutions may spring to surface, it is wise to select the more pragmatic and down to earth one The next step is to work out the objectives that the solution will be focusing at for accomplishment.
This is necessary because the selected solution ought to make things better than before. Now the issue of implementation.. A simple solution may be implemented by the manager and his team. More complex solutions may require the co-operation of other departments. The penultimate step in problem-solving in management is the actual implementation of the solution. Here, the human dimension comes into play in a big way. People need too understand what is to be done. They must know how to deal with snags. And the manager must keep a close eye on the events, besides being at hand for counsel and consultation.
The final stage in the process is the review and feedback. To conduct the review, information needs to be collected,especially with reference to the objectives. Comparing the outcome with the objectives reveals the extent by which the solution is on or off the target. The result of the review must be communicated to all the employees who were involved in the problem-solving exercise. If the solution is a success, they will be motivated to do more such things. If it is a failure, they must know what went wrong, so that they will be wiser to avoid similar pitfalls in future.