Being the boss sounds great. But the reality is that you’re not just responsible for your own problems, you’re responsible for everyone else’s problems. Pretty soon people are bringing you their problems in an unending stream. Now how are you meant to do your own work when you have so much of everyone else’s to do? This leads to stress.

This Management Problem Happens Every day

This is a typical management problem and there is a super simple technique to solve it. This is another one of my ninja management skills that I show you in WWW.BOSS.CAMP  because when you get it right it’s like magic. If you’re not signed up yet, don’t miss out. What you do is that you use Active Listening Skills to catch their problem and then you give it back to them. And I’ll show you how you can do this and achieve management Zen. Keep Calm It’s not your problem.

Being The Boss Comes With Power and Responsibility

The reason why problems come to bosses is because it’s totally natural. Your staff have problems and they want help. You’re the expert, you have the authority, the experience and the relationships. This means you can sort out the problem faster than they can.

Your Own habits Are Causing Your Problems

But like a Pavlovian response, when you fix their problems you are training them to bring you more problems. So the more problems you fix, the more problems you get until you’re totally snowed under. It’s much better to train them to fix their own problems because then you will get fewer and fewer problems…

The Problem is That You’re Too Smart

But you need to fight some of your own natural tendencies. I bet that you love solving problems, especially if you’re a High C personality type like me. (If you don’t know what that is, you need to DISC. It’s how managers deal with diversity: Admit it – we love the opportunity to show off how smart we are. It’s difficult not to blurt out the answer when to us it seems so obvious to us!

Tough Love for Bosses

It’s perfectly natural to want to help someone out. Somewhat controversially you need to fight the urge to help because it’s better in the long run. Now that’s not an excuse to be nasty because you will get better results by being supportive. This is like “teaching a man to fish, instead of giving a man a fish”

The 1st Management Principal – Staff Are There to Help

The first thing to understand is: when your employee brings you their problem it’s not your problem – it’s theirs. The whole reason you employ staff is to do things for you.

Your Employees Are Capable When They have to be

Have you ever noticed how your employees will desperately be trying to get a hold of you, texting you, calling, emailing. Then you get out your meeting and ask what’s so important and they say: “Oh we had a mini little crises but don’t worry about it we managed to sort it out.”

But Avoidance isn’t the Answer Either

Now the temptation is to apply MBA, also known as management by avoidance or exception. But that’s not helpful either because after all – what is your use and purpose as a manager. Doing management by exception can make your employees lose respect for you or even dislike you as I explain in WWW.BOSS.CAMP .

Managers Must be Demanding and Supportive

And I believe the best managers are both demanding and supportive at the same time and this is a great example of where you can be both. When an employee has a problem this is a great opportunity to encourage them to higher performance by demanding that they solve their own problems. But it’s also your opportunity to support them to grow.

A Quick Example Dialogue

The scenario is a typical manager problem, your employee Dave wants to drag you in to mediate a dispute. The dialogue would be “Yes I understand that you’re having problems with Jo – she can be very demanding. And I want to be clear that I can’t manage your relationships for you. As part of your job, I expect you to ensure that you have functional relationships. I’d like you to tell me how you’re going to fix this issue and I’m happy to give you some feedback on whether I think that will work or not. In addition if you like we can put effective communications and DISC onto your development plan. Because if you learn these skills you won’t have these problems with Jo in the future”

Use your secret ninja manager skills to deal with employee problems jpeg

Secret Ninja Manager Skills

BOOM! And that’s why I call this “Secret Ninja Manager Skills.” The employee has come to you with a problem. You’ve turned it back on them. You’re both demanding and supporting them to get better. In a super quick way.


Avoiding problems is a great way to achieve Management Zen. So the next time your employee comes to you with a problem, Keep Calm and Give it Back.  Find out more about dealing with employee problems including the 6-step technique here


Do you know that regular, high quality one-on-ones with your employees are the single easiest management practice. Do one-on-ones right and not only can you can take care of almost all your management responsibilities in one go but they will also deliver you to manager Nirvana. Because instead of one interruption after the next from your employees with little time to do your own work, your employees will save their questions until their weekly one-on-one meeting with you.  It almost seems too good to be true – which could be why some managers don’t believe in them.

The reason why not every manager believes in one-on-ones is because not every manager knows how to do fast, high quality one-on-ones. As with anything in life, do it wrong and you're simply not going to see the results. But do it right and one-on-ones will change your life and deliver you to management nirvana. 

And the reason why bosses and employees have poor one on ones is simply because no-one shows you how to have high quality One-ones. I know none of my my bosses every taught me this skill and clearly no-one ever showed them either. What I do with Manager Foundation is that I show you the real world boss skills that you need but they don't teach you in university. That's why I made a mini-course on one-on-ones (including a one-on-one template with a one-on-one meeting agenda):

What I expect you'll find is that you already know some of the content on some type of level but maybe you're not putting it into practice. This will help. As I say this is essential for new managers and helpful for experienced managers.


What's your experience in dealing with employee problems? Do you have any comments, tips or questions? Please share with us in the comments below.

Boss Camp

If you think about it, the job of a Boss is to get people to do stuff. But getting people to do what you want must be one of the toughest things in the world. That’s why WWW.BOSS.CAMP is about making managing easy in just an hour a week. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to hire for performance,
  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.