If I were to write a country music song, which, let’s be honest might never happen.. I’d call it:
“Focus on the person, not the problem”.
It seems like it could be a catchy song, if only people would listen to it.
When an employee comes to you with what you see as an unsolvable problem, it’s time to dig deeper. As an Improviser, I’d ask you what the “offer” is. What is the employee really asking for? Furthermore, what does your employee need right now?
Our basic human need is to be heard. When managers respond to an emotional need with rationale data, an employee is not truly heard. Besides, chances are it’s not about the data. There is something else going on.
Get clear on the issue.
Our goal is not always to problem-solve. It’s to build relationships. That comes from noticing the offer in the room, accepting, and building off of it. We can’t “yes, and” if we aren’t fully paying attention to the other person.