Teach Your Team How to Problem Solve
One way to expand your time is by hiring employees and virtual contractors to help you get more done. Yet, if you remain the primary problem solver, you fall prey to a time-sucking trap.
Granted, you want to help your team, especially as they are helping you run YOUR business.
But if they don’t learn to think strategically and problem-solve on their own, you'll spend a lot of wasted time when you should be working on more important projects.
For example, consider a time when you set apart to work on a specific job, say two hours.
While working away, a Skype instant message pops up from your assistant asking you about how to deal with a critical client situation that will undoubtedly affect your income.
You stop what you’re doing, listen to the story, inform your assistant of the next action steps they should take, and finally head back to your project.
Two things just happened:
- You have lost time with your project for 20 minutes. Say fifteen minutes to handle the situation and then five minutes to get back into the right frame of mind. No, it doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but each time you switch tasks, you lose momentum.
- You have trained your team member to depend on you for problem-solving. Each time you step in and problem-solve, you create a pattern for you and your team. It also diminishes their problem-solving skills. You need to free yourself up, and making your team rely on your for decisions will never accomplish that.
Why do you do it?
There are two possible reasons:
Either you love being in control and micro-managing your team and your business…which, by the way, is not a sustainable tactic for long-term growth.
You have a team member just isn’t capable yet.
Before you stop everything to jump in and problem-solve, try these empowering tactics:
- Listen to the scenario and ask your team member what they think should be done. Give them a moment to share their idea. If you disagree with their assessment, acknowledge their idea, explain what you want them to do, and give them the why behind your decision so they will learn how you problem solve.
- Establish a “Problem Solving System” that teaches your team to bring you the problem with at least two potential solutions for resolution.
- Give them ownership of solutions within a specific financial limit. For example, if the cost is small, say $200, give them the power to make a decision – after you’ve trained them.
- Create an FAQ document with suggested solutions to everyday situations and questions. Encourage your team to check it out before coming to you.
- Don’t be on-call every time your phone or instant messenger sounds. Given a small bit of time, solutions can appear before you even try to fix the problem.
Generally, your team’s desire to make the right choice and not let you down causes an over-reliance on you being the primary problem-solving. If you find there is a pattern of not addressing problems without consulting you first, you may have created an environment where taking decision ownership is not comfortable because you are always correcting them, or your team isn’t strong enough for the long-haul.
Your turn. How do you handle problem-solving with your team? Share your experiences in the comments below.
CLICK HERE to Discover the Real Secret to Building a “Dream Team” of Self-Starters who Play at the Work You Hate
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Top 10 Quotes from Melanie Benson:
- You can’t achieve your next level of success the same way you got to this level. Bold visions require new rules.
- Everything you say yes to means you are saying no to something else. Be sure you are saying yes to the right things.
- Delegate anything that someone else can do better, faster or cheaper than you.
- Leadership activates the most powerful and sustainable growth force in an entrepreneur.
- Radical leverage keeps the entrepreneur focused on the activities only they can do.
- A profitable business is the result of optimizing what you’ve spent countless hours creating; instead of spending countless hours creating more stuff.
- The quality of your results is based on the quality of your decisions, which is influenced by the quality of your mindset.
- Being busy keeps you in motion. Being productive drives profitable results. Know the difference between busy and productive.
- When you simplify your business, you can quickly multiply your results because you’ll have time to make your best offerings perform better.
- Unlimited resources are available when you are in right action – that’s when the fire inside propels you into outcomes you can’t see but are always there.