Reframing and putting the solution in front of the problem. 

Sep 13, 2022

Have you ever had a time when you felt for sure that one of your employees was the problem? Sometimes its easy to point fingers, and focus on the individual instead of the behavior.  Unfortunately this approach can be entirely counterproductive.

We are all called to be involved, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, we just need a leader to bring us forth into that potential.  It takes some creative thinking to reframe problems into solutions while focusing on the ideal outcome of the situation.  So, how do we get ahead of these issues and focus on behavior? The best way that I have found to solve a problem of behavior is to reframe it and in fact put the very person in charge of solving this and future manifestations of the same.  Here are two examples:

At one point I had an employee who was a real go-getter, very aggressive in his approach to work and life.  He also was sometimes careless when it came to safety.  He ended up getting himself significantly injured by a foolish choice, a completely avoidable accident.  This caused some major issues such as lost time on the job, a workers comp claim and some other repairs.  Instead of writing up the employee and reprimanding (thereby adding insult to injury), I chose to take another route.  When he returned to work, this employee was now promoted to safety coordinator.  Every bi weekly meeting we worked together to present a new and relevant safety topic to the team.  From that day forward, we had no other injuries or work compensation claims, no issues whatsoever.

Along the same lines, I also had a situation on a 25 day sailing journey where one of the crew members was discovered using 8 times their ration of daily water.  Without a reverse osmosis (water maker) system, we had limited stores.  Unaccustomed to managing limited resources, this person was liberally washing their hair every day.  This crew member was immediately put in charge of monitoring the usage and stores of our communal water system thereafter and charged with daily reporting to that end to me, the captain.  The issue immediately resolved itself without any disagreement.

Problems don’t go away, and neither do opportunities.  Its all about how we reframe our approaches to the situations that unfold in front of us as leaders.