Dealing with problem management
Do you sometimes feel as though you have spent your whole day taking care of employee problems? Are you doing everyone else’s work and not getting your own done? If so, your management may be out of control. It doesn’t have to be though, if you learn the art of problem management.
As a manager, more often than not, you see it as your duty to take care of everything. When an employee approaches you with a problem, you think it can’t be solved without your involvement. This is not true.
The problem may have been part of your employee’s job, and they may have been perfectly capable of proposing a solution. However, when you step in and take the problem on yourself, you take away the employee’s responsibility that is an expected part of their job. Besides that, you may end up putting the employee in charge of you. If you don’t resolve the problem to their satisfaction, they may start pressuring you to do what is essentially their job. In order to avoid this situation you need to learn the art of “problem” management.
Managers must be careful not to take on other people’s problems. When you do, you are telling your employees that they lack the ability to take care of it themselves, which can destroy employee initiative. It gives employees a feeling of loss of control and they will end up sitting and waiting for you to make all the moves.
Neither your employees nor yourself win when you take care of their problems. You will become a hassled manager and won’t feel good about yourself. Your workers will feel unappreciated and unsatisfied and they will become dependent on you. Thus, controlling the problems of other people results in the ultimate lose-lose situation.
Here are three steps you can take to keep the problems of others off your back and out of your office.
- Discuss the problem. Don’t ignore your employees. Listen to them and let them know you understand. Then place the problem back where it belongs – with them.
- Empower your employees. Empower them with the ability to deal with their problems. Employees need to know exactly what measures they can or cannot use to solve them. Don’t tell your employees to solve their problems and then restrict them.
- Check on the situation. Don’t hang over your employees while they work through the problem. Make sure the issue has been handled, and then show your concern with a positive follow-up.
If you use these steps in problem solving you will have begun the process of solving your “problem” management. You will stop viewing your employees as sources of problems and will see them as major solutions instead.