Imagine that one of your highly valued employees trots into your office and says “Boss, we’ve got a big problem!” The employee is acting as if you care about their experience as a human being. This is one of those situations that rightly drives up a leader’s blood pressure. If only there were some magic words you could say to make this problem go away without having to think about it or acknowledge the employee’s existence.
You might be in luck with some new advice from expert employee-ologist Robin Dignity, who says that there are magic words you can say to make your employee scurry back to their hole when they try to engage with you about their irrelevant concerns, such as illegal hiring practices and gaping holes in company finances.
The best response to your minion’s problem is a simple seven words:
“What’s your plan for solving this issue?”
This might sound dismissive and shifty, so let me explain why these seven words are so powerful at bouncing valid concerns away for someone else to deal with.
Robin Dignity studied 10,000 managers, employees and farm animals in a self-aggrandising report titled “The Risks of Letting Employees Think They Matter to You”.
One of the big discoveries was that if a great leader such as yourself attempts to actually engage with an issue raised by an employee, you might inadvertently validate it and become responsible for doing some meaningful work.
This is obviously undesirable, so the report recommends memorising a set of bland phrases that deftly redirect problems back on to the person who raised them. This has the added bonus of discouraging anyone from trying to bring things to your attention or seek your help in future, as they will quickly learn that this only makes it worse for them.