Managers - learn to be lazy
You know when an employee says, “Hey, boss we have a problem.”
I think you have a couple of choices:
1. You can ask the employee 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 a few different solutions,
I think the second option is best because it turns those “got a minute?” moments into coaching opportunities that ultimately strengthen your team.
If you take over and solve problems for your team, they are going to become more dependent on you, creating a productivity bottleneck. It is a strange paradox, but the more you help them, the more help they will need.
If, however, you treat these situations as coaching opportunities, your teams confidence and skills will grow as you force them to think through their available options.
Here is what might happen the next time a team member comes to you for help:
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.”
This process works because you are forcing team members to come up with a few options and decision-making always improves when we consider more than one 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, try it and let me know how it works out.