Never Bring Me Just A Problem

A technique for getting employees to think for themselves


This is an easy rule to start in your office. It’s also a win-win for both you and your employees.

The rule is simple: your employees are never allowed to bring you *just* a problem. They need to also have an idea for a solution.

This is a win for you, because you’re not just getting problems thrown at you. If you’re the only person in your office who is capable of handling trouble and thinking of solutions, you wind up becoming like the parent of a bunch of helpless children.idea-half-push

That may feel good for a little while, but it will eventually become draining and frustrating.

Remember, the idea is for your company to run smoothly with out you. We want your company to thrive and grow without you having to constantly oversee everything.

Another benefit of you requiring employees to bring you a suggested solution every time is that they will learn how to handle problems themselves. If you have discussed your preferred solution to a problem with an employee, he or she will know what to do the next time it appears.

idea-in-middle3And of course, this rule can become a win for your employees, too. They learn how to handle problems themselves. Your staff is no longer totally reliant on you — they become self-reliant instead.

Of course, not every employee is going to be able to think up the best solution to every problem every time. That’s okay. Just that they are thinking up *a* solution is a step in the right direction. And it’s an opportunity for you to teach — and to delegate.

Don’t come down hard on the “wrong” idea for tackling the problem at hand. Instead, teach the employee the right way.

If an employee is unable to ever think of a decent solution to a problem, then maybe longterm that person isn’t going to be a great fit for your company.idea_2

And who knows? Maybe sometimes your employees will think of the best, “right” solution to a problem . . . that you didn’t come up with.

The whole idea is to create an environment that is positive, creative and focused on solutions. This simple technique will help you do just that.


A lot of great photos in this post. Thanks to Christopher for the head in hands shot. The word “idea” in lights is courtesy Mike Linksvayer. The “push for help” button is by Keith Tyler. The exclamation in a field of question marks is from Thanks all!

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