Sunday, October 17, 2010

Whose Monkey Is It Anyway?

A long time ago I heard the story about the monkey. I have forgotten the complete story, but it is about the person walking up to you with a monkey on the shoulder, and when the person leaves, YOU have the monkey sitting on your shoulder.
The monkey is, of course, the problems that other people bring to you.

Here's an attempt in making you a monkey-free zone.
This is simple, but not easy. It will possibly challenge your belief in what makes you worthy of your salary ;-)

First let's talk about the new leader's (your) dilemma: You get hired as an expert and you are given A LOT of positive feedback (and promotion!) because you solve problems. So you seek out problems to solve. And it gives you a great feeling to solve them. You LOVE problems. And you are seen - and see yourself - as someone who is GOOD at solving problems. And it gives you a sense of worth.

The dilemma? It is not leadership!

Leaders don't solve anybody else's problem, they support them is selecting SOLUTIONS.

You can decide TODAY that you will live after the following simple rule:


Problem - 2 - Solutions
IF someone comes to you with a Problem, expect them to come with at least 2 possible Solutions.
The rationale is that if someone have seen the problem, that person is closer to the solutions.
Dare to trust this:
The reason you have people reporting to you IS NOT that you're there to solve their problem, but to support them getting the job done. And to help them select the best solution.

"If you give a person a fish, you feed her for a day. If you teach a person to fish, you feed her for life".

If you keep solving their problems, they'll come back tomorrow with another one.

Lastly: while you are at it, add this rule also:


Complaints - 2 - Proposals.
We all know people who whine and complain and critique about "the food is too bland, the parking space is too far away, the carpets are too dark, the coffee is too cold, etc etc"
Help them by implementing: "If you are going to complain, come up with at least two proposals about what you are going to DO about it."
One out of two outcomes will happen: Either these people start thinking more positively - finding solutions (that's good), or they will stop complaining (that's also good).


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