Leaders, it’s instinct to try to help solve our team members’ problems. But sometimes that’s not what they need. Sometimes they just need you to
And to know that they’ve been heard.
Not sure what they need?
Ask: Do you want me to just listen right now, or to help problem solve?
If they say “Just listen,” do just that. And show empathy and understanding.
If they want you to help problem solve, put on your coaching hat and start asking questions. Your job STILL isn’t to give them the answers. But that’s a post for another day.
This concept of listening and not problem-solving came up in a conversation with a leader this week, and I immediately thought of this video. I’ve called this up many times over the years, as it makes the point in a humorous and gentle way (even if it perpetuates some gender stereotypes).
Building your mindfulness to not immediately problem solve is a skill that will benefit you in all of your relationships. Often in conversations with friends, we’ll ask “Do you want me to listen, coach, or give advice?”
Often the answer is “Just listen.”
Pay attention in your conversations today. Where can you stifle your problem-solving instinct and just listen? Can I help? Let’s chat.