Who hasn’t heard at one time during their career, from a boss, ‘don’t bring me problems, bring me a solution?’

How silly is this? If all your boss does is ratify a solution, what good is s/he? Further, if you have a solution, why the heck aren’t you out there implementing it?

Worse, what does this say about the organization that encourages this sort of behavior? That they don’t trust their people? That they are so risk averse that no one is encouraged to make a move because of fears of making mistakes? Think about what this does to  employee motivation and engagement.

Instead, try telling your employees to stop bringing you solutions, and bring you problems instead. They’ll be skeptical at first, but if you’re firm in telling them ‘if you already know what to do, why are you asking me for permission?’, they’ll get the message pretty quickly. You’ll soon be amazed at changes in attitudes and increased energy levels.

And you’ll probably find that your job becomes a lot more interesting as well – the good ones are not going to bother you with trivia (and if they’re not good, why are they still working for you?) and the problems they bring you are likely to be really interesting – helping solve those will have a real impact.