When To Let Your Team Solve Problems Without You

Marcus Perezi-Tormos
August 3, 2016
When To Let Your Team Solve Problems Without You

As a manager, success isn't calculated by how many problems you fix. It's about how you build a team that can solve problems themselves. Here are some ways to know when it's best to assist in or step out of your team's problem solving.Question 1: Who should own this problem?Before you step in to solve an issue, think about how it will affect your team's future behavior. For example, instead of your team having you deal with an irate customer because you're an authority, you can teach them how to handle it, instead.Question 2: Do it now or do it right?Sometimes, it's better for the manager to take care of a situation if it's time-sensitive. However, even when you fix the problem, be sure to engage your team in the process so that they know what to do in a similar situation in the future.Question 3: What is the least I can do?If you have the step in, "find the lowest level of initiative for yourself," yet ensure that your team acts at their highest level. This offers them a teaching moment, so they will need less of your assistance as they move forward.Question 4: What type of problem is it?If the problem is the issue itself or is a recurring one, typically employees can handle it on their own. If you have a healthy company, your employees should be able to solve these problems within their own team and with other departments.Last thought: It takes two to escalate.Before you help your team, ensure that everyone involved agrees that they need you to assist. This way, you are used as a last resort.Source: HBR

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