Sep 20, 2013 (Doha)
One situation managers often share with me is when a person who does know how to do a task comes to you and asks “how to proceed?” When the manager asks in return, “what do you think should be done?” The reply is, “I do not know.” Now the manager knows they have a good idea. They are working many aspects of the job already. They have done very similar tasks in the past. Why would a person who knows how to do something fain that they do not know how to do it?
I am sure there are a multiple of reasons, but one that comes out in discussions often is the reason of avoiding accountability for responsibility of action. When an employee says they do not know and then the manager tells them how to proceed, who has responsibility if it does not work out? The manager. “Boss I did exactly what you told me to do.”
We need everyone thinking on the job. Productive companies cannot have people running around waiting for others to do the thinking. In the above scenario what can a manager do? My coaching to managers: get really good at persisting:
1. What did you do when this occurred last month? 2. You are my hands-on operator; give me your best ideas before I voice my opinion. 3. Go back to your desk and think about it and come back to me with your two best solutions.
Do you have employees coming to you for solutions that you know they should be coming to you with solutions? Use one of the 3 options above or one of your own that gets them thinking and coming up with viable solutions. Stop doing all the thinking yourself.