Executives and HR managers don’t know everything. In fact, many find themselves utterly baffled as to why a certain incentive program or motivational technique isn’t working. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t worry; It’s not you. You just need to approach from a different angle.
The natural divide that exists between management and employees creates for a sort of empathy barrier. Sometimes it’s difficult for higher-ups, who are so enthused and energetic about the company, to put themselves in the shoes of their workers, who are paid less, and have less equity.
Embrace the fact that you simply don’t know or don’t understand. Employees will appreciate your pragmatism and possibly offer a hand in improving the situation for everyone. Invite them to discuss their concerns and perspectives in an open-ended meeting or, if preferable, in a one-on-one dialogue.
Managers should catalyze problem solving, suggests the Harvard Business Review, and be willing to admit that they don’t know what the answer is to every problem.
As a manager, do you ever admit that you don’t know the answer to a problem?