A Thought on Managing Your Team When They Ask For Help

How to reframe: “I need help! What should I do about XXXX?”​ into — “Here is the current situation and three possible ways to solve for it — let’s talk through the best approach.”​

When asked for help, encourage your team to come with thoughtful questions and potential answers. Do not set up the expectation you will solve all problems for them. Too many times when faced with a problem it is easier to go to your manager and say ‘What should I do?’ This is essentially putting the burden on the manager to solve the problem.

As a manager asking your team to come with three possible ways to solve for a problem is a great exercise that benefits both the business and the individual team member. With this method, your team is encouraged to think critically about how to solve the problem. Junior team members do not need to know the right answer, but will develop the critical thinking skills to come up with a few possible answers and seek guidance as to which one might work best. This will cut down on the number of problems long term as your team will slowly understand the process by which you make decisions and apply them to the answers.

What strategies do you find effective at mitigating the “solve this for me” problem?