You like to tell your team, “I’m here to help and answer any questions.” That’s fine. But some people will more than accept your offer of assistance: they’ll enlist you to do their work for them. Beware of employees who come to you to escape having to slog through the real work of producing results on their own. They may claim they just need “advice,” but what they really seek is for you to spell out what you want and then just do it for them. Respond to “I have a problem— will you help me?” requests by saying, “I’m available Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Come with possible answers to your questions or proposed solutions to your problems.” During your meeting, resist the urge to do employees’ thinking for them. Don’t feel obliged to answer every question, especially if you find yourself giving facile analysis. Greet smart questions by introducing a new fact. Then pose your own question to encourage employees to digest what they’ve just learned.
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