My client and I had been talking about how to get her free from the day-to-day so that she could tackle more long-term, strategic projects.
Right in the middle of the conversation, she blurts out, “Why am I the only one solving problems around here?”
Woah! That’s a big statement.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Everyone brings their problems to me. They walk into my office 50 times a day, and I have to figure out a way to fix them. I’m sick of it!” At this point, she’s practically shouting; the frustration is evident on her face!
“Well, if you are sick of it, you should stop solving their problems!”
That response took her from frustrated to pissed off!
But I was serious. There’s no reason the CEO should be solving everyone’s problems.
Don’t be so smart!
Either you have consistently hired people who don’t know what they are doing and are incapable of learning (possible but unlikely), or you have trained them to bring you their problems.
When you reliably solve other people’s problems – folks are going to bring you more problems. If you stop solving problems – they will stop bringing them.
Instead of solving the problem for them, turn it around and ask, “I don’t know, what do you think we should do?”
You’d be shocked how those 10 words can turn your people into problem solvers.
Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.