Manager returns the serve

A busy manager was often stopped in the corridor and asked for help by various colleagues and other staff members. In his desire to be helpful he often took on extra tasks which were becoming a burden. He came to realise that in many cases the person asking could have done things for themselves.

What this manager wanted
This manager wanted to be free of all these extra requests and to be able to walk down the corridor without gathering extra work at every step. In other words he wanted to learn the skill of encouraging and empowering others to do things for themselves.

This required a real change in habit for the manager and it didn't come easily. Through coaching he learned ways of returning the serve positively to a colleague by using questions like:
  • How will you start on that?
  • Which step will you do first?
  • I’m confident you can follow the process we used last time we talked about this.

Once the manager had identified the skill he wanted to practise it became easier to develop a variety of ways of returning the serve from staff.

Practice makes perfect
Like any new habit it took time to make the change. However once people realised that the manager was not going to rescue them from issues they needed to deal with, they started to come up with practical suggestions themselves. This freed the manager from taking on extra work.

The unexpected bonus of this change was that the manager’s colleagues became more competent and confident to carry out a wider range of tasks in the workplace.

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