The simplest way to
keep people from camping out in your office is to remove the
“visitors” chairs so that everyone has to stand when they’re
talking to you.
If you like to help people, there’s a
hard-learned lesson that will rob you of your ability to get
I call it, pun intended, “Being a Monkey
Imagine that one of your employees walks into your
office and says “We’ve got a problem”.
It’s human nature
to ask what it is. But the danger in asking is that you haven’t
yet tested the validity of his statement.
the word “WE”.
He’s already concluded
that the problem is partially yours, and that you should drop
what you’re doing to help him solve the problem.
should you bail HIM out if HE
caused the problem? If you do, you will have crossed the line
from being a manager to being an enabler. He’ll get conditioned
to run to you every time something doesn’t go the way it’s
supposed to, and you’ll have only yourself to blame.
One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey: Don’t Take on the Problem
If the Problem Isn’t Yours”, Dr. Ken Blanchard says that
there’s a high correlation between self-reliance and morale.
There’s also a high correlation between how far up the
ladder you climb, and how self-reliant you teach your employees
Good managers solve their employees’ problems for
them. Great managers teach their employees how to find solutions
and solve problems on their own.
Here’s how to handle the
situation the right way.
The next time an
employee walks in to your office and says “We’ve got a problem”,
respond “Obviously YOU have a problem. But
whether or not it’s OUR problem has yet to be
determined. Let’s start with you explaining what YOUR
problem is, and then we’ll decide who needs to find a solution.”
If it really is something you need to be involved in,
acknowledge it by responding “Thanks for bringing this to me.
You were right to do so and I appreciate your wisdom." Then
proceed to problem-solve with him, but not for him.
if it’s something he could have solved on his own, respond “What
do YOU propose that YOU do
If he’s too mentally lazy (or codependent on
you) to answer, he’ll respond with something like “I don’t know.
That’s why I came to you.”
Respond to him with “Well if
you did know, what would your answer be?” Make him take a stab
Your job is to see that he does his job; not to
do it for him.
When someone walks into your office with
a monkey on their back, it has to go back out with them.
them dump their monkey in your lap.
If you want to deter him from doing
this again, say “In case Plan A doesn’t work, what’s Plan B?”
Because this requires that he exert more mental effort, he’ll
learn that it’s easier to solve problems on his own than to run
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