How do I get my staff to be more pro-active about problem solving? I can’t always be at my store and it makes me worry how dependent they are on me for feedback.

As a starting point, when a member of staff approaches you for help, instead of giving them the answer, ask them more questions.

The aim of this exercise is not to frustrate them, but to help them work through their own though processes. When you ask questions like

  • What are your thoughts so far?
  • What have you tried?
  • How did you think it happened?
  • What options are you leaning toward to fix it?
  • What will happen if you do nothing?
  • WHY?
  • Can you explain?

You encourage your staff to problem solve independently, show that you have confidence in their abilities to identify and solve problems, and give them a sense of self-assurance. This tactic will help get past stuck points in meetings and operations, uncover over-looked patterns, inspire innovation, and motivate employees.


Alison Job
About the Author
Alison Job is the online editor and custom content liaison at Entrepreneur Media SA. She comes from a news background, having worked at the SABC during her formative years, but has also spent time doing corporate communications, public relations and editing trade journals as well as consumer magazines.

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