When your workers struggle to acquire new skills or complete a difficult project, do you jump in and dish out advice? Your well-intentioned attempt to pave the way for them to succeed can actually make matters tougher for everyone.
“When an employee says, ‘I’m stuck,’ a lot of managers say, ‘Well, here’s what you can do,’ ” says Mary Ann Masarech, director of research and marketing for BlessingWhite, a consulting firm in Princeton, N.J. “It’s better to ask questions that help the employee get unstuck.”
Aside from obvious questions such as, “What’s your goal?” and “What have you worked on so far?,” try asking, “What have you learned?” and “Are there other options or possible action steps worth considering?” Keep pressing for answers. Don’t accept evasion or let people change the subject.