Be There For Your Team During Problem Solving
“Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.” Although a well-known mindset, this is a toxic way to think as a manager. This prohibits your team from feeling comfortable coming to you with important information, especially if it’s bad. Because not every problem comes with an easy solution, you must be accessible to your team. Here are some ways to assist in problem-solving:
1. Make it safe.
Remind your team that they can come to you with bad news. This way, you can also help tackle problems early on. Be sure to paraphrase their concern when they address it and ask questions. This helps you to understand the problem more, and shows that you are actively listening.
2. Require problem statements from your team in lieu of complaints.
Problem statements, unlike complaints, are objective and consider everyone’s role. For example, a problem statement from an employee could be: “Group A missed the deadline the past four times. In one case, we were unprepared, but not the other three.” With problem statements, you can spot trends, find the root of an issue, and everyone involved can be a part of the solution.
3. Find the right person(s) to solve the problem.
Who is best to solve this problem? Is it a bigger issue in which you should involve yourself more? Perhaps it’s something a single employee can handle, but just needs your approval or coaching. The key is to get your employees to stretch their abilities in any problem-solving situation. And thank them for bringing up the issue to you.