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Don't Own Your Employees' Problems

Companies are looking for hard-working people who can solve problems. As an emerging leader, chances are you got where you are because you are that person.

Now your employees are dumping problems on your desk, knowing you’ll fix them. Your job now is to help them grow, not solve their problems.

Here are some strategies to help your teammates solve their own issues:

  • Create a Culture of Mistake-Making: Employees are afraid to make mistakes. Maybe their previous boss got mad at them for something that didn’t work. Maybe you were busy one day and shot down an idea. Encourage your teammates to try and fail. Sit down and brainstorm with them on new ideas, then let them run with a new process or new approach. And if it works, give them all the credit.

  • Don’t Quick-Solve It For Them: We’re often in a rush and come up with answers just to get it done. That approach won’t help your employees grow. When they come to you with a problem, ask them what their ideas are. Ask for specific facts, figures or behaviors, not fuzzy thoughts or impressions. That means that the employee has to collect that information and return the next day. When that happens, give them your undivided attention to listen to the new information.

  • Don't Accept “I’m Too Busy”: Being busy is not an excuse for employees, nor is it an excuse for you. If an employee is complaining that they’re too busy to deal with an important issue, sit down with them to help them prioritize their work. Have them lay out their priorities and coach them through different strategies that can work for them and your department. You may even find that they're not focusing on the important work.

Here’s a good article to share with your team, or use these strategies when approaching upper management: The Right Way to Bring a Problem to Your Boss

Take 2 more minutes to read our blog called Coaching Others to Turn Their Problems Into Solutions

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