We all know that problem-solving is a key skill for effective leadership. But all too often, leaders aren't aware that something is a problem until after it causes damage to an organization, putting leaders and everyone else in reaction mode.
The best way to solve problems is to anticipate them, and diffuse them before they cause a crisis. Yet even though you may hold town meetings, listen to your staff, and reinforce an "open door" policy, chances are that you're still not close enough to the sources of potential problems to catch them in time.
Michael A. Roberto, Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island has written the book, Know What you Don't Know: How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen. Roberto says that the key is to hone your powers of observation. By engaging with people "on the front lines," observing customers directly, and getting their hands dirty, Roberto says that leaders will notice things that they simply could never see from the comfort of their offices.
To read a complete interview with Roberto, and to see his list of effective observations "dos and don'ts," visit Ivey Business Journal
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