Stop Telling Your Team “Don’t Bring Me Problems”. Instead, Do This | by Vinita | Apr, 2022

Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions is a phrase used by many managers — even the well-intentioned ones — who believe that it encourages their team members to be creative thinkers, while all it does is promote siloed thinking. The message you want to pass is one of encouragement and empowerment, but instead, it dissuades your team from bringing up problems — problems they find hard to solve or ones that need your support and guidance
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‘Don’t deliver me issues, deliver me options’ is a phrase utilized by many managers — even the well-intentioned ones — who consider that it encourages their staff members to be artistic thinkers, whereas all it does is promote siloed pondering.

The message you need to move is one in all encouragement and empowerment, however as an alternative, it dissuades your staff from citing issues — issues they discover exhausting to resolve or ones that want your help and steerage.

You need to problem them, push them tougher to seek out options on their very own, and present them that you just belief them, however that’s not what they hear if you inform them to cease bringing issues. It conveys that you just’re solely fascinated by listening to concerning the issues they will remedy. What do you suppose they are going to do then once they don’t know the way to remedy one thing on their very own?

Mistaking empowerment with a options solely mindset is definitely fairly widespread. Empowerment allows a way of inquiry, and a collaborative mindset that encourages a number of views whereas a options solely mindset discourages sharing of opinions and locations worth on doing it alone.

As a supervisor, it’s essential to look at your response when your staff members deliver you issues or attempt to search your recommendation. For instance, once they face a problem or don’t know the way to progress of their objectives, getting offended or irritated gained’t repair the issue. It should solely make issues worse. Your staff might be inspired to solely share the excellent news whereas hiding something that may make you mad.

Telling your staff to cease bringing you issues creates an setting by which staff don’t really feel protected to speak about the true points.

  • It makes you ignorant of the true issues that affect your staff otherwise you get to listen to about them too late.
  • Your staff wastes an excessive amount of time in making an attempt to resolve an issue on their very own, typically impacting supply timelines.
  • They’re persuaded to cowl up an issue for worry of retribution.
  • Small issues left unattended for lengthy could flip into crises.
  • Your staff’s morale goes down once they face a problem or a setback

As a substitute of “Don’t deliver me issues, deliver me options,” inform your staff “Carry me issues, let’s share options and collaborate on the subsequent steps.” You aren’t telling your staff to return working to you on the first trace of an issue, with out making use of their due diligence or pondering by means of options. You aren’t telling them that it is advisable be concerned in each resolution. Your message is empowering with out advocating a options solely mindset that shuts down staff.

Many issues at work can’t be solved alone. They typically require enter from others. Good leaders present help and collaborate on problem-solving. As a substitute of “delegate and abandon,” they promote “delegate and empower.” They’re round to help their groups, coach them and assist them get unstuck. In doing so, they aren’t making each resolution themselves. Moderately, they assist their staff construct the important pondering abilities required to do it themselves.

Telling your staff to “deliver you issues,” creates a psychologically protected setting by which staff really feel inspired to talk up about their largest considerations. As a substitute of making an attempt to be proper, it promotes the mindset to seek out the precise options. They don’t hesitate to ask for assist or recommendation once they’re blocked from shifting ahead. They study to understand the worth of looking for inputs and collaborating on discovering solutions collectively.

  • Errors are not hidden, they’re out within the open.
  • Setbacks don’t discourage your staff, they sign studying.
  • Not having an answer is not any purpose to get anxious, burdened, or feel incompetent. They’re a chance to construct new abilities.

The messaging to do it collectively and be a part of the staff promotes a growth mindset by which your staff members don’t really feel restricted by their present abilities and talents. They’re inspired to spend money on studying as an alternative of proving. In making an attempt to be self-compassionate in direction of themselves than making an attempt to construct their self-worth. The advantages of constructing this mindset in your staff go far past simply problem-solving.

Stanford College psychologist Carol Dweck’s research has discovered that staff in a “development mindset” firm are:

  • 47% likelier to say that their colleagues are reliable,
  • 34% likelier to really feel a robust sense of possession and dedication to the corporate,
  • 65% likelier to say that the corporate helps risk-taking, and
  • 49% likelier to say that the corporate fosters innovation.

Staff within the fixed-mindset firms not solely say that their firms are much less more likely to help them in risk-taking and innovation, they’re additionally much more more likely to agree that their organizations are rife with cutthroat or unethical conduct. When organizations put the premium on pure expertise, then everybody needs to be the famous person, everybody needs to shine brighter than the others, and other people could also be extra more likely to cheat or lower corners to take action. Teamwork can take a nosedive — Carol Dweck

She suggests “Our greatest guess will not be merely to rent essentially the most proficient managers we will discover and switch them free, however to search for managers who additionally embody a development mindset: a zest for educating and studying, an openness to giving and receiving suggestions, and a capability to confront and surmount obstacles. It additionally means we have to practice leaders, managers, and staff to consider in development, along with coaching them within the specifics of efficient communication and mentoring.”

When your staff operates with a sufferer mentality, they place the duty for issues to issues past their control — different folks, conditions, circumstances, or the setting. Performing as a sufferer results in complaining, blame video games, and drawback avoidance.

I couldn’t end the mission as a result of the opposite staff was delayed and didn’t ship their code on time.

It didn’t work as a result of we had much less sources.

I didn’t get the necessities on time.

It’s irritating when staff continuously complain and refuse to take duty for his or her outcomes. However telling them to cease bringing issues isn’t the answer. You need them to really feel accountable and take possession. You need them to cease utilizing “being blocked” as an excuse.

Stephen R. Covey calls the sufferer mindset an “outside-in” state. Blames and complaints come from a way of lack of management which makes them really feel helpless and hopeless about their state of affairs. It prevents them from discovering artistic methods to maneuver forward. He suggests shifting from an “outside-in” to an “inside-out” state. An inside-out state comes from a way of management over their selections. To do that:

  • Create consciousness of the measure of accountability by setting clear expectations and aligning on these expectations.
  • Create acceptance round behaviors and actions that display accountability.
  • Talk that you just care whereas exhibiting the openness to be candid.
  • Have interaction with them by performing as their help construction.

Ask your staff to shift their language from a grievance or blame to framing it as an issue. Whenever you arrange expectations, ask questions, and collaborate on framing their issues proper, it prompts the pondering a part of their mind. They really feel answerable for their outcomes. They’re prepared to take the initiative to impact constructive change.

Normally, if staff aren’t capable of remedy issues on their very own, they both lack context — don’t have sufficient background data to resolve the subsequent steps, lack readability — aren’t clear about their objectives or they lack competence — the issue is past their scope and talent to resolve it.

As a substitute of “don’t deliver me issues,” attempt to Establish which of those — context, readability, or competence — is inflicting them to battle. Understanding the distinction might be essential to constructing a really empowered workforce. You possibly can’t throw issues at folks and anticipate them to at all times remedy them on their very own. It’s your position as a supervisor to establish areas the place your staff wants your help and step in. Give them the precise alternatives, problem them, and anticipate nothing however excellence. However don’t flip a blind eye when additionally they want your help.

Ask these questions once they provide you with issues:

  • Do they only want your approval?
  • Do they want steerage?
  • Do they want hand-holding?

Staff who’re within the early phases of their careers could lack the arrogance to decide on their very own. They in all probability know the answer and simply want your approval to really feel comfy in shifting ahead. Others might have your enter once they’re engaged on advanced issues or ones the place their resolution has a big affect on the group. Some staff may additionally battle regardless of having solved related issues up to now. In such instances, assigning a mentor who can work with them carefully could be the proper factor to do.

You possibly can’t apply a one-solution-fits-all method to your total workforce. You’ve to be prepared to do the exhausting work if you’d like your staff to resolve issues on their very own. “Don’t deliver me issues, deliver me options” makes you abscond from duty, the identical duty that you just anticipate out of your staff. Change your messaging, shift your staff’s pondering from blame to possession and provides them the help once they want it. That’s the one technique to construct a robust staff, a staff that doesn’t complain or hassle you with petty points. A staff that makes use of your time correctly by bringing your consideration to actual points.

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