Say These 7 Words When Employees Bring You Their Problems

by Mark Murphy
Republished from Forbes, August 19, 2018

Imagine that one of your employees walks into your office and says “Boss, we’ve got a huge problem with the ACME account; they’re angry and I think we might lose their business!” This is one of those situations that rightly spikes a leader’s blood pressure. But as much as the wrong response risks losing the ACME account, the wrong response also risks ruining the effectiveness, accountability and future growth of your employee. So, in responding to the problem our employee just brought us, we’ve got a few different options, from worst to best.

The best response to our employee’s problem is a simple seven words:

What’s your plan for solving this issue?

This might sound too simple, so let me explain why these seven words are so powerful. I studied 27,048 executives, managers and employees in a report called “The Risks of Ignoring Employee Feedback.”

One of the big discoveries was that only 23% of people say that when they share their work problems with their leader, he/she ‘Always’ responds constructively. By contrast, 17% say their leader ‘Never’ responds constructively. And overall, more than half of employees feel that their leader doesn’t consistently respond constructively when they share their work problems.

Even more shocking is the discovery that if someone says their leader ‘Always’ responds constructively when they share their work problems, they’re about 12 times more likely to recommend the company as a great employer.

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