Three Management Magic Questions. Guaranteed.

If you manage people – even one – you understand the frustration of having someone else’s problems escalated to you.  There’s an easy way to deal with that when it does happen, and to stop it from happening again.  It’s a three-step process, and it involves three simple questions that give you true management magic.

The Management Magic Questions.

Master them and you’ll see your team improve and your own task list shrink.  Like the bearded man in the nice suit likes to say, “I guarantee it”.

Let’s set the stage.

You manage a person who has a job to do.  Sometimes that job is hard.  Sometimes they get stuck or can’t seem to get past a particularly nagging problem.  Or, sometimes they want to simply wash their hands of the problem.  For whatever reason they eventually talk to you about it.

Why?  Because they want you to solve their problem for them.  They want it to be your problem.  You know the feeling when someone else is shoving their issue across the table for you to take on.  And you don’t like it.

That’s when you ask Management Magic Question Number One.  Don’t add any words to this sentence.  You don’t change recipes in magic.  Ask this.

“What do you recommend?”

That’s it.  Before you agree to tackle someone else’s problem – or worse yet, take ownership of it – start with that question.  Ask it, and then be quiet.  Listen.

A good employee will have given that question some thought already.  They might have a recommended plan of attack and want to share it with you. That’s good.  You want people thinking and bringing solutions to you.

But some people will give you a blank stare or prattle on about how perplexed they are or how vexing a dilemma this is.  All problem, no recommendation.  You tell that person to come back when they have a suggestion you can discuss.  You’ve sewn the first seeds of the most important concept you can instill in people you manage.

Don’t come to me with a problem unless you have a proposed solution.

Your good employees will be glad you want their opinions.  Your bad employees will stop bothering you with problems they haven’t thought about.  Don’t look now, but that’s managing, and you’re doing it.

Next up…Management Magic Question Number Two.

And Management Magic Question 3.

Business is tough.  Hang in.  If we can help you, just let us know.

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Whittle & Partners is a consulting group that provides EOS™ Implementation in the United States and beyond. We offer in-person and online solutions to fit your business and schedule.Visit our about us page to learn how and why we love bringing Dallas Traction.

Jeff Whittle is a Certified Dallas EOS Implementer.

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