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How effectively do you help your teams arrive at their own solutions rather than giving a solution to them?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How effectively do you help your teams arrive at their own solutions rather than giving a solution to them?

  • Very effectively: Almost everything we do is the team's idea: 17.52%
  • Effectively: I help them often but sometimes drive my own solution: 71.89%
  • Not effectively: My solution often dominates the conversation: 7.37%
  • Not at all: I almost never use the team's solution and always default to mine: 3.22%

Let them own the solution. While the majority of you responded that you let your teams develop and implement the solution to a problem, there is a pretty strong hint of leaders driving their own solutions. While you're responsible for leading the team, it doesn't always have to be your solution. Sure, your solution might be the best one, but is it significantly better than the one the team generated? If there's only a marginal difference, try letting the team run with theirs. They'll be more excited about it, learn more effectively from where their plan had shortcomings and be more invested in the outcome, which should lead to better execution and higher engagement.

Reconsider your role in the problem solving process and move from problem-solver-in-chief to being the enabler of your team building, executing and learning from their own solutions.

 

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, which includes TITAN -- the firm’s e-learning platform. Previously, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."