How To Help Your Team Solve Problems

Overtime, the idea that a Manager must have a constant pulse on their employees (micromanagement) has been replaced by the idea that part of a Manager’s job is to allow their team members the freedom to grow, and gain confidence in their own abilities.  When an employee, whether it be a superior, subordinate or a peer, approaches you with a request for help, we encourage you to keep the below questions in mind. This approach to problem solving will help you better serve your team, by assisting them in finding their own answers, bolstering their confidence, and removing any room for finger pointing down the road. 

  1. What do you recommend? 

At first, when you begin using this question in your responses, one may be met with surprise or confusion. In future conversations, however, one will notice that individuals begin to approach meetings with resolutions or hypotheses readily available to share. If the individual asking the question does not have a resolution or hypothesis available, we do encourage you to brainstorm with them for a short while – ending the conversation encouraging them to return when they have a plan, and always communicating that you trust their judgement and their familiarity with the problem or situation they’re facing. 

  1. How can we test that?

Because human interaction is fluid, in business we cannot always be certain our resolutions or approaches will work on a large-scale. Before implementing a new plan, or sharing a new process or idea with a Client or Customer, we encourage you to recommend that your team test their idea. This will ensure that an idea that may sound wonderful, does in fact operate the way it is intended to. Even if you are skeptical about the idea or proposed resolution yourself, it is a good idea to let your team, or employee, work through it on their own (instilling the confidence we spoke about before; unless the idea is clearly not going to work). 

  1. What do you need from me?

This question allows your team to foreshadow any obstacles they think they may face, and ask for your help in combatting or removing those. In some instances, an employee may need money, resources, or access to another team or department. Showing your team that you are ready & willing to assist in the facilitation of their idea rather than impeding it, is a great way to build a strong, independent, and driven team. 

Using the above questions when problem solving at work, should create a cohesive environment across your team, department, or company. They put the onus on the employee asking for the assistance, while simultaneously conveying that you are there to support them. This is sure to encourage innovation & creativity, two critical components of a successful working environment. Although the Pandemic is drawing to a close, over 50% of American Employees still consider themselves burned out, and are considering a job change. There will always be outside factors that drive employees to new positions, however limiting internal factors for departures is something you can control – we hope this helps!