Solutions not Problems
One of the best Managers I had early in my career was Bob Jones my Sales Director at Homepride Foods in the 1980’s. He was a kind and gentle man but with a presence and wisdom that was almost tangible. He had answers but they did not come from him without work.
I remember early in my relationship with Bob going into his office and asking him for an answer to a problem that I knew he could provide for me.
“See that In Tray?” he said to me. “That is full of my challenges today. I don’t pay you to bring me more problems. I pay you to sort out solutions. If you honestly can’t decide on which solution, then we can have a chat about which of them might be best”.
I left his office with my tail between my legs but soon realised what a valuable lesson he had taught me. “Think for yourself!” Bob was saying. I haven’t stopped doing so since then and I am eternally grateful to Bob and his message ever since.
With a number of clients, I still see Directors and Senior Managers making this mistake of providing solutions rather than asking their staff “What do you think we should do?”. Obviously, if you give your staff the answers, they will keep on coming to you and not develop.
Are you giving out answers to your Management Team like treats to a pet or are you making them think about the options and getting them to come up with realistic and costed solutions?