Every organization has issues that no one steps up to resolve. Teams may have bigger priorities, or they may be short-staffed. Sometimes, employees may think someone else will solve the issue. Whatever the case may be, unaddressed issues can end up damaging productivity, hurting morale and hampering success.

Art Petty, executive coach and speaker, calls these issues “gray zones.” He says these are the kinds of problems that everyone sees, but no one owns fixing them. However, you can be the kind of leader who solves problems and contributes to your organization’s greater success. You can do this by leading through these gray zones. Want to know how to do this? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we outline five ideas from Petty.

Look for obvious “gray zone” issues. These may be inefficient processes, unproductive meetings or a company culture that glamorizes always being busy. Petty says the first step in leading through gray zones is learning to spot opportunities in plain sight. For example, if your team is booked in endless meetings, think about how you could free up more of their time for actual work.

Approach “gray zone” problem-solving like a team sport. To solve those persistent company-wide issues, you need a strong team on your side. Petty encourages professionals to use a weekly Start/Strengthen/Repair process to grow and strengthen their networks. The process involves connecting with individuals you want to meet, tending connections that may have gone dormant and repairing relationships that may have been tarnished.

Show the benefits of solving “gray zone” challenges. What matters most to your boss? When you know their biggest concerns or aspirations, work to address them through gray zone initiatives, says Petty. When you can show how your work can help resolve pressing issues, your boss may give you the green light to proceed, even if it’s outside of your regular responsibilities.

Shine the spotlight on your team. When you succeed at solving a problem, it’s the perfect time to shine the spotlight on the people who made it happen, says Petty. This is important because it allows you to show appreciation to others. Your colleagues or employees will appreciate your acknowledgement and may be more apt to support your future endeavors. It’s also the right thing to do, Petty adds.

Become your own advocate. It’s up to you to make a name for yourself as a problem-solver and innovator. Just like anything else in your career, you have to advocate for yourself. When you have a solution to a problem or an idea that would improve efficiency, reach out to your boss and show how you are the right person to solve the issue.

Workplace issues generally aren’t going to go away without someone addressing them. You can set yourself apart by being the one who steps in to solve these organizational challenges. By calling out gray zones and taking steps to resolve the issues, you will create value for your organization and expand your influence.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Art Petty is an executive coach, speaker and presenter. He has written several books and has served as the leadership and management expert for The Balance.