IDAHO FALLS – Using a technique she pulled from a three-day in depth management training class, Industrisoft’s local IT Director Shiela Crumbs notes that she avoids answering direct questions by instead posing a similar question back to the asker.
“A good manager doesn’t solve their staff’s problems, they teach their staff to solve their own problems”, Shiela explained, using a rough version of an aphorism attributed to Maimonides, but also admitted that it’s an easy way to get out of providing any guidance.
“Sometimes I really don’t know what they’re asking me, and I certainly don’t want to provide any direction that might be attributed back to me, so I shoot it right back to them”, she laughed.
We pressed her for an example.
“Well, let’s say they ask me if they should deploy the current software to our customer or wait a week and fix a few more issues. Rather than put myself at risk and provide any particular advice based on my experience, I would simply lean back in my chair, putting my finger on my chin pensively, and instead ask: what do you think is the most appropriate thing to do? No matter what they say, I’m off the hook. Management!”
When asked about recent reports about declining profits at her organization, Shiela asked “why do you think they’re declining?”