How to Solve “With” not “For”

Struggles strengthen; don’t solve stresses for others – solve stresses with others.

Yesterday I posted, “22 Ways to Dramatically Increase Your Influence.” I’m expanding on number seven.

With not for:

When your team’s winning, stay on the sidelines and cheer. When things start going badly, get involved – but not too quickly.

Intervention suggests others can’t achieve without you. Stepping-in indicates others aren’t capable; it’s a subtle form of rejection. It doesn’t build people; it tears them down.

Struggles strengthen. Challenges, stress, and confusion are the context of growth and learning. Allow time for good people to rise up and win without you. Tightly monitor, however, key success factors. Your interest and involvement indicates priorities; it creates heightened accountability.

Indirect help:

Identify go-to resources. Great leaders build a pool of resources they can call when projects falter – “go-to” people. For example, a new project manager just hit a brick wall and in frustration calls for help. When you determine they really need help, point them to resources that can help. Say, “I think Bob or Mary have expertise in this area. Give them a call.”

Tell go-to people your expectations. It’s not unusual for me to call and explain the level of intervention most useful at the time. I’ll let a go-to person know when I expect them to offer suggestions and when they should save the day.

Suggestions place responsibility where it belongs. Deadlines, costs, or other factors may, however, require a save-the-day moment.

Save the day:

Saving the day humbles and creates respect in those being helped. Suggestions, on the other hand, build their skill-set and strengthens them by keeping them under the gun.


The best thing leaders do is get things done while developing others.

How do you solve “with” rather than “for”?