Someone waltzes into your office unannounced asking for your assistance on an issue. You put them at ease by committing to finding a solution. Or how about this: during a one-on-one meeting, an employee airs their grievances towards a colleague. You promise to talk to the other person to get to the bottom things.
On the upside, you feel valued, as your guidance and support are important to them. That’s always an ego booster, right? The downside is that, day after day, you end up with an ever-growing list of problems to fix – problems that aren’t necessarily yours. Furthermore, you miss out on an opportunity to foster the growth, development and success of those who come to you for solutions.
What’s the key? Asking open-ended questions. The goal is to help the other person develop their autonomy, so that they feel, by the end of their conversation with you, that they already possess the answers. Your role is to help them uncover those answers, which is just as good for the ego.
- You want to work in more of a coaching capacity and empower your team members.
- You want employees to come to you after they’ve already done some legwork, and thought about appropriate solutions.
- You want to take a first step towards building an autonomous team.
- By adopting the right stance for this type of conversation.
- By developing a questioning reflex, rather than telling others what to do – or worse, doing it for them!
- By getting very clear on the other person’s expectations of you, in order to respond more effectively.
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