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Getting Your People to Solve Challenges – Get the Monkey Off Your Back



Last blog we discussed The Problem with being the Chief Problem Solver. If you feel that this is not the case for you or the people you manage please pick up a copy of Harvard Business Review’s Habits of Highly Effective Managers and find out why only 10% of managers are really doing their jobs. One of the critical obstacles is this issue of taking on their subordinate’s problems. The HBR report calls it “monkeys on your back.”
The issue of taking on your subordinates problems, whether you name it reverse delegation or monkeys on your back isn’t just that it means your time as a manager or leader is less productive.   It means you’re failing in the critical role you were hired to produce – empowering your subordinates. Your role is to make your people more valuable. If you solve all their problems for them how will they ever learn to be more than they already are. 
Most managers don’t realize that their job can be fairly easy and simple if they master their role and hire capable people. A manager who has the right system in place to produce the results the company wants, and who refuses to accept reverse delegation from his subordinates eventually moves up because his department is functioning at a very high level.
Do you want to be one of those managers or leaders? Next time one of your people comes to you with an issue they are looking for your help with consider asking some of the following questions:
  • What are some of the ideas you thought of that might work?
  • How have you handled something like this in the past?
  • What’s the first thing you need to do to resolve this?
  • What resources do you have available that may help?
  • What specific outcome were you looking to achieve?
It could be a defining moment in your career development, and perhaps more importantly a defining moment in one of your subordinates career as well. 
The battlefield is a place where critical decisions need to be made with severe time limitations that can dramatically affect the outcome and results in the loss of human lives.   If you’d like another set of questions for your subordinates to improve their decision making, empower confidence, reduce the time you invest in reverse delegation/monkeys on your back, then look to my next blog on the system Napoleon Bonaparte used to grow his subordinate generals.

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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.   We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.