Please login or join to subscribe to this thread
Several years ago I had a manager who would ask me this question (guaranteed). So I learnt - to prepare for the questions, to come up with options before approaching him. The result - my problem solving and situational thinking and analysis improved.
I sometimes use a variant of this, asking, what can "we" do about this? ...then listen for the answer, sometimes chiming in with suggestions to complement ideas in development. And whether it's my son or team, a similar response - they seem more relaxed to generate ideas and contribute to the solution.
And have "we" gotten some good ideas from this process? Definitely yes!
Sounds like a win-win and healthy relationship you have there Oghale, thank you for your feedback!
This is how Dilbert answers this.
Regarding why this is said. I notice that Risk and Issue logs commonly encourage too much evasion and caution ("Log it. Job done"). Perhaps the "bring me solutions" remark is management's reaction to that kind of behaviour. Contrast the way teams tend to treat RAID logs with the way the same teams will use a product backlog. I'm generally sceptical about the practice of RAID logging for that reason.
That being said the way managers often say "bring me solutions not problems" doesn't really make staff believe that their manager appreciates the issue and wants to do something about it.
As has been said previously on this thread if the manager was to say "What can WE do about this? Do you have any ideas for a resolution?" and then the manager empowers the employee to go and implement their solution then the employee both feels listened to, valued and empowered. Job's a gooden!
The issue I find is that for many people (including me at times!) the "process" of determining options and ranking them (with pros/cons) can be very unfulfilling (and it takes time). This is especially true if it includes scheduling meetings/discussions and getting opinions. Then there's whatever process of documenting or at least getting the logic right behind the options their organisation requires. So unfortunately there is an element of management needing to stress that "you're empowered, so now go take responsibility". I think the latter "responsibility" bit is where we fall over especially where specialists are not full time on projects (this can be helped by clearly communicated and accepted RACIs or similar). So empowerment+taking responsibility is required.
In regard to your question. Early in my career, I was told by a mentor "my company no longer look for an MBA, they bring more question than solutions". I don't know if it would still stand,
Who needs people that bring more problems to the table?
Bring these people solutions in search of problems !
Please login or join to reply