“Oh no. here comes Barbara again. I wonder what’s wrong now. She’s a real pain in my side.”

In his book people are never the problem, Robert Watts Jr. states, “Ignoring the real problem and treating people as though they are problems often causes them to strike out against their accusers…”

Personally, I like to say there are no problems, only opportunities. But for this article, I will interchange the words issue and problem. When we treat the problem bearer (or issue bearer) as the problem, we set at least two catalysts into motion. 1) The problem bearer is put on the defensive. 2) The real issue is set aside causing it to grow.

I agree with the title of Watt’s book; People Are Never The Problem. People are never an issue. There are people who simply cannot recognize solutions to issues (problems) when those issues arise. And issues certainly will arise – in every area of life. Those people who keep coming to you with issues or problems are not problem solvers. This is why they come to their supervisor or speak with others. He/she does not recognize opportunities, only issues.

When we see issues as problems, we only recognize the negative effects on the surrounding people and environment. On the other hand, when we recognize issues as opportunities, we accentuate the positive, which drives us to seek resolutions.

Wise counsel is to train people instead of bringing a “problem” to leadership, bring a possible solution. As leaders, we would much rather have someone bring a possible solution to an issue that we may or may not be aware of. Bearers of solutions get rewarded. Bearers of problems get shunned. It’s human nature.

To be effective leaders we must do our best to equip our people (employees, volunteers, followers) to reach his/her individual greatest potential. Part of this equipping is to avoid problems and see opportunities to improve self and the organization. What will you do this week to build the eyes of opportunity in your organization?

George Yates is the Church Health Strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, assisting churches and individuals in pursuing God’s purpose for life. Learn more at ALSBOM.org/revitalization.

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