As a manager your team will come to you often for your guidance and support. This is a natural part of being a manager and as a good manager you want your team to be productive and efficient. However there is a massive caveat here – you are not there to solve all their problems.
This is one of the worst, and most frequently occurring problems, not to mention a massive time sink for you. Whilst it may be quicker to give your team the answer to all their problems, this means that they are not developing their own problem solving capabilities or giving them skills to be able to progress their own careers.
So the next time one of your team comes to you with a problem to solve, instead of diving right in, sit back, take a breath and ask some of the following questions:
- what do you see as the issue here?
- how as this issue arisen?
- what is the background?
- who else is involved?
- do they have any suggestions?
- what do you think the next steps should be?
- what might the outcomes be?
- do you have a solution for this problem?
- what have you learnt from the past that might help you here?
If all else fails ask them to come up with two solutions and then you can help debate the possible benefits and pitfalls for each scenario.
It will take practice, it’s so much easier to just solve the problem but persevere and you will not only empower your team and build their competencies, you will also get some time back for your projects and tasks – win win.