February 2, 2011 Leadership, Management

Helping your staff help themselves

If you’re a good leader and employees trust you and your ability, you also have the problem that too often employees and managers depend on you for all the answers. 

However, simply providing answers and solutions for your staff impairs their ability to grow and develop their leadership and problems solving skills.  A better idea may be to help them find the answers themselves by posing a few probing questions.


  • “Can you explain more about this situation?”
  • “Have you experienced a similar situation in the past?”
  • “How have we handled this in the past?”
  • “Based on your experience, what do you suggest we do here?”

I believe in developing employees to their fullest potential, but one rule I have always lived by is “don’t just bring me the problem, bring me a solution”.  The long-term payoff:  Employees learn how to handle similar situations in the future – without your help.