Don't Bring Me Problems

Want to really set yourself apart as a leader? Try telling your employees, "Don't bring me problems, bring me solutions." This phrase will absolutely set you apart as a leader; apart from your people, apart from communication, apart from real issues, and apart from collaborative solutions.

Don't bring me problems. Bring me solutions.

I can imagine only one reason a leader would say something like this - there are too many people brining them problems.

But why would this be?


I doubt that the company is wrought with people incapable of handling issues incumbent with their roles. I am skeptical that the organization is in such an anomalous position that few can fathom a resolve. I suspect the institution has a reasonable share of intelligent and competent individuals who've likely served in similar, if not more challenging roles at prior times in their career.

So why then, would they bring the boss so many problems? Why would said boss be compelled to mandate, "None shall deliver unto me problems without providing proper suggestion for resolution thereof"?

Such a boss might consider looking to themselves as the source of their very angst.

Who receives too many problems?


What other than a boss who takes power rather than shares it, would render competent, experienced, and intelligent people inept?

It is the boss who bellows, "Do you want me to come down there and do it for you?"
It is the boss who assigns multiple people the same task and later selects a winner.
It is the boss who requests fresh ideas but then proceeds with their own idea.
It is the boss who asks a team to make a decision and then overrules it.

The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership. - Colin Powell

You really want less problems?


The leader who entrusts hears little of problems or, for that matter, solutions. To this leader, results are delivered. And should this leader be delivered a problem, they know it is a serious thing indeed. Serious enough to put their best people on it and get out of the way.

1 comment:

  1. I worked on one team that developed a culture were bringing a problem without a solution became so prevalent that it even invaded stand up. We weren't "allowed" to mention something that didn't work out so well during the last sprint if we didn't propose a solution to the problem at the same time.
    Of course the primary problem was that there was no buy in from the assigned "customer" for the project, so the team had little direction or support.

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