Are You Dealing with People or with Problems?

When it comes to dealing with adverse situations, there is a mistake that is often made. That mistake is the perception that we have to address the person who is creating or allowing the problem.

In order to deal with a problem, there are a few things that we must push ourselves to do. These few things take intentional thought and looking past perceptions. If we can do this, we can effectively deal with the problem at hand.

Looking Past the Person to Find the Problem

If a business is having issues with low sales, high personnel turnover, ethical issues, etc. we often look at the person who is responsible for those particular areas and try to find ways to pin the blame on them. No doubt there is a level of responsibility that person has, but this approach is only a temporary fix to a greater problem. There is so much more to it than just pinning the blame on someone, dismissing the person, and moving on from the situation as if it is fixed!

This may seem like it takes care of the issue, but all it does is make us feel like we did something, but was that “something” the right thing? In order not to fall into this trap, we must not just look at the person who could be blamed, but we must also look past the person and find the real problem.

In our previous examples, of low sales, high personnel turnover, and ethical issues we must see these as the results of the real problem, not just the problem itself. What is it that causes these things to occur? When we switch our thinking into this mode, we are more likely to actually get to the root of the problem rather than seeking a way to feel better about the outcomes of the problem. This is why we must learn to deal with problems and not just with people.

The Misperception of Dealing with Problems

There is a common misperception when it comes to attempting to deal with problems. That misperception is that when you start to deal with the actual problem, many will think you are actually dealing with a person who may be involved with that problem. While it is true that sometimes a person is the problem, most of the time problems are systemic rather than personal.

This means the problem lies within the system, or way things are done, rather than within any particular person. If the systemic issue isn’t addressed, then it will continue to occur no matter how many people are involved. This removes the personal nature of the whole process and when it’s not personal to you, then you can start to get down to the root of the issue.

Your Motives Matter

We must also do all we can to ensure we are as clear as possible about our motives in addressing a problem. We should do all we can to ensure this message is communicated, but even then there will be those who are just going to believe that you are attacking someone personally and they will immediately go on defense.

Even though you know this isn’t the case, and try to make it abundantly clear, you will not convince everyone. But, as long as you keep your motives pure, and continue to seek out the actual problem, then things do not have to become personal and when things are not personal, you can think more clearly and be more objective in your approach, as it should be.

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Published by Jason Fulmer

Jason Fulmer is a Pastor, Human Resources Professional, and Development Teacher. He currently operates two blogs:, where he posts Bible-based development articles, and, where he posts personal and professional development articles. His life's goal is to encourage men and women to go to THEIR next level of living and leading. He believes the best way to accomplish this goal is through Education and Example!

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