Stop Wasting Your Time Solving Problems

Many leaders and managers have a compelling; even perverse interest in fixing things. Average managers solve problems and get results. Great managers build people.

A recent conversation with a new manager reminded me that it’s all about people. If you build them, they will fix problems and enhance productivity, not you. If you build them, they will deliver results. I asked Joe (not his real name) how things were going with his new position. He feels frustrated because of the people problems he’s facing. No surprises there. I listened while he explained a couple issues.

While listening, I wanted to jump in and solving things but that won’t help much. Joe needs to solve his own problems. As Joe’s story wound down, I looked him in the eye and said, “You have the qualities all good managers have.” He smiled and said it felt good to hear someone outside the company say that. He doesn’t need a solution; he needs courage.

Problems shake the confidence of new leaders/managers and make them forget they have what it takes. Instilling confidence in them is more important than solving problems for them.

Don’t solve people’s problems give them confidence they can solve them.

You’re missing the boat if you:

  1. Think more about processes than people.
  2. Jump in and help people solve problems.
  3. Fix rather than build.
  4. Speak more than listen.

You’re on target when you:

  1. Let them talk about problems while you talk about their strengths.
  2. Explain why you believe in them.
  3. Honor their hard work rather than their frustrations.

Training or other resources may be required to solve problems; however, instilling confidence comes first.

How do you instill confidence in the people around you?


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