Recently, I’ve been reading a book called “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard. It’s a very thin book but its content is as good as some more long-winded leadership and management books.

In this book, there’s a part which talks about an employee’s meeting with his manager to discuss a problem. The employee was having a difficult time trying to solve a problem with one of the contractors. That’s why he approached the manager, hoping that the manager has some advice or can offer some help for him.

Well, this is normal for most of us. When we are faced with a problem….we will try for maybe few times and give up especially if there’s someone there to help us with the problem. We assume that this person will help us fix the problem easily without troubling ourselves with it.

Easy isn’t it? It sure is…that is why most of us would go for this option.

However, in this book, the manager (who is known as “The One Minute Manager) refused to help when the employee asked “Can you please help me to solve this?“. Why? The answer is simple. The employee’s role is to fix the problem, not the manager’s. By helping the employee, the manager is making him too dependent on the manager………and also wasting the manager’s time which is meant to do something else.

What the manager should actually do is to hint at the employee on what should be done. Questions like “What is the problem?“, “How do you like it to be if there’s no such problem?”, “How do you intend to get to this path you wanted?“, “Is there any plan for it? Do you think this plan of yours can work? If no, do you have any other plans?“.

I believe these questions will make the employee think for himself. If he cannot answer the 2nd question which is “How do you like it to be if this problem doesn’t exist?“…….then it is not a problem. The employee is just complaining without putting some thought into how to fix the problem.

That is why we must always remember that we need to be independent especially when it comes to solving a problem. Other people can only give us hints, tips or advice…but they should not be solving it for us. Let’s fix it ourselves.

Hope it helps.