Do you fear having the tough problem assigned to your team? (174-5)
The greater the leader the more likely they are a problem solver. Read Daniel 5:10-16.
Babylon had gone through a change of leadership. King Nebuchadnezzar had died and his son Belshazzar was king. Early in his reign he threw a party “for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them” (5:1). As the party got more ruckus, Belshazzar tried to impress his guests by serving wine in the gold and silver goblets taken from the temple of God by his father when he captured Jerusalem. This prideful, brazen insult to the One True God went too far and “Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall…” (v. 5). The party was pretty much over, Belshazzar went white as a sheet and started looking for someone to interpret the handwriting on the wall.
When none of Belshazzar’s enchanters, astrologers and diviners could interpret the message from God, the Queen Mother told her son of the times Daniel had interpreted dreams for his father. In her description of Daniel she said, “This man Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems” (v. 12). The phrase concerning Daniel’s ability to solve difficult problems is repeated in verse 16 when Belshazzar makes his request for Daniel’s help.
One criterion that is critical if a leader is to succeed in the role of leader is the ability to solve problems. Leaders must be willing and able to tackle and solve difficult problems. On page three, Donald Schon in his book entitled Educating the Reflective Practitioner (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1987) says this about problem solving on page three:
In the varied topography of professional practice, there is high, hard ground overlooking a swamp. On the high ground, manageable problems lend themselves to solution through the application of research-based theory and technique. In the swampy lowland, messy, confusing problems defy technical solution. The irony of this situation is that the problems of the high ground tend to be relatively unimportant to individuals of society at large, however great their technical interest may be, while in the swamp lie the problems of greatest human concern. The practitioner must choose. Shall he remain on the high ground where he can solve relatively unimportant problems according to the prevailing standards of rigor, or shall he descend to the swamp of important problems and nonrigorous inquiry?
In my leadership life I have found the above paragraph to be true. In fact, in my early years of leadership God gave me wisdom on how to adapt a model from a city planner for determining logical city growth into a model I call the Solution Cycle. Over the years, the Solution Cycle tool has helped find solutions to some difficult swamp issues that had our team in paralysis.
Do you fear having the tough problem assigned to your team? Have you spent much of your leadership life avoiding being the point person to solve difficult problems? Daniel was promoted to a high leadership position for taking the opposite stance. Effective leaders will find distinction because they are willing to become involved in finding the solution to life’s toughest issues.
Proverbs 24:10 If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!
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