Give Socratic Guidance

Overview

Generally speaking, people like being able to solve their own problems. When they come to you with unsolved problems, it is an opportunity to help them become better at solving their problems themselves.

Why We Do It

Team members will come to their supervisor for solutions for any number of reasons: lack of experience, an underdeveloped critical thinking framework, a sense that they don’t have the authority to make a decision on their own, etc. Developing more autonomy in someone by using questions to reflect the problem back to them helps improve their ability in all of these areas.

Building autonomous team members—people who can think and act on their own without constantly seeking approval from authority (whether real or perceived)—can be hugely valuable to your organization. It potentially makes your life easier as a leader as your team becomes better able to handle tactical decisions on their own, allowing you to focus your attention on more strategic problems. It’s also a critical first step toward building your next generation of leadership.

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