visiting cma? MAP IT


9 Steps for Improved Leadership Problem Solving

Despite industry differences, one of the most common threads amongst organizations is that of problems; organizations encounter problems of various magnitudes on a daily basis. More often than not, leaders are charged with addressing these problems head-on. The mechanism leaders often use to approach problem solving is via case-based knowledge—a sort of cognitive library of one’s previous experience with similar issues. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the tendency to sometimes get “stuck”, this stored knowledge is sometimes insufficient in helping us solve problems. But what can we do?

Recent research out of The Leadership Quarterly offers a comprehensive review of steps that are critical to leadership performance with problem solving:

  1. Gather information to define the problem.
  2. Think about the origin of the problem and possible solutions to the problem and how they are related.
  3. Consider any factors that may be constraining solutions.
  4. Plan the solution and consider ways to prevent harmful outcomes.
  5. Objectively forecast or predict what outcomes will occur after the plan is implemented.
  6. Use creativity to develop contingency plans.
  7. Evaluate ideas and appraise solutions. Which will be most effective?
  8. Use wisdom to appraise solutions using objective self-reflection, awareness, and sound judgment.
  9. Craft a vision and communicate, adjust, and articulate plans to followers.

To learn more about these findings, please see the source article. To learn more about how you can refine your leadership problem solving skills, check out CMA’s The Leadership Advantage (TLA) program.

Mumford, M. D., Todd, E. M., Higgs, C., & McIntosh, T. (2017). Cognitive skills and leadership performance: The nine critical skills. The Leadership Quarterly, 28, 24-39.