Stop Taking on Your Employee's Problems

An employee stops you in the hall and says, "We've got a problem." You can't make an on-the-spot decision, so you say, "Let me think about it." You've just allowed a "monkey" to leap from your subordinate's back to yours. Take on enough monkeys, and you won't have time to handle your real job.

Instead of accumulating monkeys, develop your subordinates' initiative. For example, when an employee tries to hand you a problem, specify the level of initiative you want him to demonstrate: 1) Recommend and implement a solution, 2) Take action then brief you immediately, or 3) Act and report the outcome during a routine update.

By Editors  |  November 3, 2008; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Management Tip of the Day
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