7 Words To Develop Your Staff, Improve Delegation and Enhance Time Management


Managing employee performance can be demanding. But sometimes, simple and effective management solutions are so close to us that we don’t notice them. We have, to use an old saying, “our foot on the penny”. But there are many rewards when we lift our foot and look.

Misleading History

Over the last 40-50 years the gurus have tried to convince us that employee management is a complex and confusing business. Here’s one case where 7 little words can work wonders for us. Each word has one syllable.

7 Words, 7 Syllables: Countless Benefits

The 7 little words are “What do you think we should do?” That’s all. There’s no complicated verbal wordplay: just 7 monosyllables. Use them as much as you like. Always use them when an employee says “Boss, what do you want me to do about this?”

The Benefits

  • You won’t have an accumulation of files and papers sitting on your desk or lying lazily in your inbox awaiting your attention
  • Staff will learn to stop dumping problems in your lap
  • Employees will start to suggest solutions or courses of action themselves
  • You won’t get bogged down in minor detail and minor issues
  • You’ll have more time to do what you’re  paid to do: manage
  • Over time, staff will develop better analytical and problem solving skills
  • Staff will learn to handle issues themselves rather than refer them to you
  • Staff will discover that their experience and opinions are highly valued
  • You’ll encourage creative thinking among employees
  • You’ll have found the perfect cure to “management upwards”
  • Both you and your employees will be able to examine some unconventional approaches to difficult situations
  • You’ll get some wild and ridiculous responses: but you’ll get some that are both interesting and creative that you’d never have thought of yourself
  • Employees will realize you want to use more of their experience, knowledge and creativity
  • Your on job training will be more focused and relevant
  • You’ll be practising what you preach about delegation
  • You’ll have fewer difficult employees
  • Your time management will improve beyond belief
  • You’ll stop doing your employees’ work
  • Both you and your employees will be learning that in the workplace, skills such as delegation, time management, planning, problem solving and communication are interdependent
  • The example you give by using the 7 words will snowball throughout the business
  • And lots more you can add from your experience.

And you’ll greatly enhance your capacity to managing employee performance.

But Leon, They Don’t Know …

Are you sure? Even if you are, can you think of a better way of developing effective, relevant, day to day operating skills and establishing performance standards?

You could also refer “dumpers” to other more experienced staff. They could help them to develop recommendations to bring to you.

Expectations And Superior Performance

There’s no doubt that when employees knew exactly what you expect of them their performance will improve. Those 7 words will go a long way towards clarifying expectations: both yours and theirs.

The Big Payoff

Just imagine. Wouldn’t you like to know that every time an employee came to you with a problem

  • that he or she also brought a solution or
  • a recommendation for future action?

What better way is there

  • to reinforce the importance of team development and
  • the close relationship of what seemed to be unrelated management skills?

Permit me to remind you. The more competent your employees are, the more you can trust them. The more you trust them, the more time you’ll have to do your job. It’s in your interests to develop your people to reach their potential.


I’m only talking about seven little words. Each has only one syllable. The alternatives “Leave it with me” or “I’ll have a look at it” take almost as long to say. They provide none of the benefits. It’s a gradual process. But it’s well worth a try … unless, of course, you like to be seen as the font of all wisdom in your business. But that’s another story…

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