My team comes to me with problems they can solve themselves.
Questions that Google can answer. Or a colleague. Or if they just looked through the system they could find the solution themselves.
If they gave the issue more than ten seconds’ thought, they’d realise the answer’s right in front of them.
They’re a pretty talented bunch … so why can’t they think independently when it comes to problem solving?
I’m tired of this trickle of people at my desk, on the phone and on email getting answers they don’t need me to provide.
When you’re a leader, you either have a team that works together in harmony, or you dream of one day leading a team like this.
If you’re in the midst of the former and spend your day fielding queries your team could easily answer themselves, I have a question for you:
Did you ever stop to think you could be the problem?
Most people look to their boss to solve every niggling little issue for three reasons:
- Their boss is the knowledge expert and appears to have all the answers
- They don’t feel encouraged to find a solution independently
- They’re afraid of making a mistake
And that comes down to you. The Leader.
The way you treat them. The margin for error you allow. And how you react when mistakes are made.
If you give the impression that nothing gets decided without you, you’ll create a team of subservient individuals too afraid to think independently.
So instead of doing what you want them to do – solving little issues themselves – they rely on you for all the answers.
But an emotionally intelligent leader does things a little differently.
An emotionally intelligent leader finds the words that, when spoken, help their team feel autonomous.
These words only have to be said once to each person. They set the tone for the relationship and the approach the entire team has to problem solving.
These words are so simple and yet so effective that they both hand power to the team and still show them who’s leading who.
And here they are:
Only come to me with a problem you have a suggested solution to
And when there’s more than one solution, tell me which you think is the best option and why
Here’s the impact this statement has:
- It gives your team the opportunity to be creative and search for a solution
- This then improves their skills and gives them a feeling of autonomy
The result? You have fewer cries for help, more time in your day, and a team full of independent thinkers keen to find creative solutions.
Have you tried this approach already? What impact has it had on your team?
What to do now?
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