Yesterday, we started looked at being solution-focused. A useful balance to this quality is, however, to manage the giving of solutions responsibly. A couple of thoughts here will hopefully take some of the frustration out of the problem of offering solutions that aren’t always well received.
1. Are you ‘putting in’? Free consultancy or opinionated afterthoughts are usually not welcome unless at least being backed by a contribution to, or care for, others.
2. Consider the approach. The more closely connected you are to the person concerned, the freer you can talk. A more respectful manner and a listening ear can open up opportunities, but you have to know when an issue is not yours to raise and also when it absolutely is. After all, “Discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you” (Proverbs 2:11).
3. A balanced proposal. If the positives and negatives are considered well and presented properly, then a suggestion will (and often should) receive better attention. Where action has already been taken, then expect to be corrected on appropriate boundaries if these were not already established.
4. Make expectations reasonable. Great ideas won’t always be embraced and good actions won’t always be appreciated. I find that it is important to stay humble enough to consider that I might have been wrong to at least some degree, anyway. And sometimes we have the right idea, but the wrong timing, because of circumstances or receptivity. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.
5. Assess carefully. The ‘I told you so’ comeback is rarely going to be well received, even if it is valid. But holding back spares us the same medicine someday, since “In the same way you judge others, you will be judged” (Matthew 7:2). Objectively assessing and then further analysing a problem but maybe considering why people act in certain ways, too, can provide useful learning for the future.