There are three things wrong with telling an employee what to do.
- It demotivates them.
- It doesn’t teach them how to think critically.
- It makes them dependent on you to solve problems.
I had a boss who didn’t want to hear my input or ideas. Instead, he wanted me to execute his vision for a company-wide training program. I was confused. I thought he hired me because of my expertise, but it seemed he really wanted someone to type and organize training documents. Had I not had the confidence and nerve to push back, I would have only been a robot.
Not every employee will feel comfortable challenging you like I did my boss. So, stop telling, and start asking. Coach your employees instead of directing them if you want to see them do their best work. I call it Guide G Factor, and it is one of the characteristics of a leader people like to work with.
When someone comes to you with a problem to solve, try these five questions:
- What have you tried?
- What worked and didn’t work?
- What do you think you should do next?
- What could go wrong if you did that?
- Do you think your plan will solve the problem?
Once you start coaching and stop directing, your employees will take responsibility for outcomes, and you will be able to focus on doing other tasks. Doesn’t that sound great?!
*Do you want to know how good your Guide G Factor is? Take the G Factor assessment here.