• Stuart Chant

Learn to be Lazy

You know that moment when employees show up at your door and say, “Hey, boss we have a problem. ” I think you have two choices:

1. You can ask what the problem is, take ownership, and solve it for them


2. You can force them to think through their options and come up with the best solution.

I think the second option is the best because it turns “got a minute?” moments into coaching opportunities that strengthen your team.

When you solve problems for your team, they become more dependent on you, which creates a productivity bottleneck. It is a strange paradox, but the more you help your team, the more help they will need.

If, however, you treat these situations as a coaching opportunity, your staff will grow because you force them to think through their available options. As a result, you enhance their self-esteem and they will know what to do the next time.


Employee: “Hey boss, we have a problem.”

Manager: “No, you have a problem, what is it?” (practice not taking ownership)

Employee: “Well the _________ is not working which means the _________is backing up”

Manager: “OK, what are you going to do about it?

Employee: Thinks and suggests a solution

Manager: “OK, what else could you do?”

Employee: “Well, I could also try x and x

Manager: “They both sound like good options, which one are you going to do?

Employee: “I am going to try the first option.”

Manager: “Good call, let me know how it works out.”

Experts tell us coming up with two or three solutions to a problem gives you the best chance of choosing the best option.

Learn to be lazy, ask questions that lead your staff to the answer, the more you do this, the less your team will come to you for answers.

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