As leaders, we often come across problems with our colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates. These problems can hinder our work in predictable and unpredictable ways. Individuals having difficulties within or outside of the organization often create barriers or hurdles that their teammates have to to jump through to find a sense of normalcy.
In organizational psychology, we call these problems and difficulties “pain points.” We can loosely define pain points as something that causes the organization distress or trouble. Depending on the pain point itself, it can have major impacts within the organization. For example, if someone within the customer support department was having issues surrounding the details of the job, the customers they support might end up suffering because of that and look for another organization that can provide better customer service.
The easiest way to find pain points is to look for areas or departments that are struggling to meet their quantifiable goals. Let’s acknowledge that this can be an uncomfortable process from beginning to end. Goals may be too loosely defined to follow or achieve, and that could be the pain point in itself, or there might be a much deeper meaning behind it.
Once finding the broad source of the pain point, it is extremely important to be as communicative as possible with everyone involved. Approach the situation with an open mind, sense of curiosity, and above all else, kindness. With this approach, employees are more likely to be open and honest about why their results are lacking. More importantly, they will be more receptive to any feedback that will help them reach future goals.
Pain points will be a part of every organization. The key takeaway is to research them quantifiably (focusing on the hard numbers and statistics), but it is more salient to proceed as a human being with tools and resources to support your fellow colleagues. Good communication skills are paramount when both uncovering and solving pain points.