Do you encourage people in your team to bring you their problems or solutions?
Over the years, I’ve heard many leaders say “I want my team to bring me solutions, not problems!“, and there is a good reason for this.
Having people constantly knocking at your door, telling you what’s wrong with their world and hoping you will fix it for them is not a sustainable way of working.
However, this approach may also seem like you’re making it too difficult to get through to you and people will simply give up trying to discuss everyday problems and challenges with you.
The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.Colin Powell, the ex-Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, USA
Make Yourself Accessible
Many leaders will create an environment where challenges are not welcome, maybe coming from a belief that asking for help is a sign of weakness.
This will result in a team culture that will severely weaken efficacy, as people will invariably cover up their mistakes.
Make yourself accessible and available at all times, modelling a vulnerability that builds trust and encourages your people to do the same.
Create an environment where sharing problems and decision-making replace the blame culture that still prevails in many teams.
This may not always be easy but will enable people to approach you rather than backing off.
Remember, you are not creating a dependency on you but instead encouraging your team to share what’s going on for them. It still remains their responsibility to solve their problems.
When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.Stephen Covey
Call to Action
Seek opportunities to deal with challenges in such a way that your team approach you openly, even in those times when the pressure is on.
Demonstrate to your team that they can trust you and that you do care.
Then you’ll develop a culture in which both you and the people in your team will thrive.