Are You an Obstacle?

I recently worked with a client where the vice president of sales and the vice president of marketing would not speak to each other!  Think about the obstacles this creates for their employees.  It definitely makes an employee’s job harder when her manager is sending her to meetings instead of him because he can’t deal with another manager!

One of your responsibilities as a supervisor or manager is to understand what may be keeping your employees from doing the best job possible.  Things that may get in the way of great performance may be not having the training or resources they need, poor communication, unclear tasks, problems in the systems and processes of your organization.  And don’t forget: an obstacle for your employees may even be YOU.


Your role is to help your people identify problems that are keeping them from reaching their goals.  Then, with them, generate possible solutions.  Your role is problem finding/ problem solving. But once you understand obstacles your people face, a key mistake supervisors and managers make is solving problems for their employees!  Many leaders are good problem solvers.  They like solving problems.  It feels good to solve problems.  Well, other people may like solving problems, too.  AND other people have good, creative solutions that you haven’t thought of.

Sometimes we forget that many of our employees are raising families, running homes—they can figure things out.  Yet many supervisors get in the habit of telling people what to do, rather than asking employees how THEY think we can solve this problem.  

It is your responsibility to grow your people as problem solvers.  If you engage employees in figuring things out in the workplace (by asking and then really listening), you grow them, motivate them—and get better solutions.