The New York Times recently reported on a 30-year-old man who shot his rich dad because the father had the nerve to decrease his allowance a few hundred dollars. The dad had been paying the son’s pricey Manhattan rent and was also giving him spending money. He cut the latter down a bit and paid for it with his life.
This is obviously an extreme example of what happens with Baby Boomers overparent their Millennial children, hovering over them like helicopters and protecting them from any remote adversity or failure. But more generally, I fear that these parents (no offense Boomers) have produced a generation of employees who arrive at work completely unable to problem-solve.
Managers constantly complain to me that their reports need way too much hand-holding. Well, the truth is, we don’t help the situation when we bail them out more than we should because it makes our lives easier.
Remember the old adage: “give a man fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” When it comes to your team members’ productivity, it’s in your best interest if they are as self-sufficient as possible. Here are a few suggestions for making that happen.
Give Them a Blank Piece of Paper
Consider delegating things that you have traditionally done yourself. Provide any necessary training and after a complete debrief that offers a clear direction, assign a task that has clear boundaries but also allows your employee to be creative in exactly how she gets it done. Giving a report the freedom to be independent is an important first step.
Demonstrate Your Confidence
Employees who haven’t had much experience completing work or making decisions on their own are often insecure. Tell your report that you hired him for a reason, and that you have complete faith in his ability to successfully complete the task. If he starts to freak out, tell him that no one ever died as a result of your company’s daily operations. It’s just work, and work will always be there.
For more where this came from, check out the full post on Intuit's Fast Track blog.