Whose Job is it Anyway?

The result of the problem (incident, challenge, situation, happening, occurrence, negative event, etc.) lands splat in the middle of the team.  Does everyone stare at it?  Or perhaps everyone immediately finds busy work somewhere else?  Maybe a couple of people circle in closer for a look at least until a supervisor moves in at which point everyone fades back?


The supervisor picks it up and starts to ask questions – what is this?  Who knows something?  Do the hands start to form into pointers, poking this way or that?  If you get caught too close to the problem when the supervisor moves in, you become ‘it’ and that isn’t a desired position.


But why not?  Turn things on their ear, at review time, and almost everyone on the team is likely to put that they are a ‘go-to’ person for the department on their review somewhere.  When I read that as a manager, I immediately start to sift through my memory to see where they stood for those unclaimed problems.  At what point did they jump in?  How proactive were they with follow up and resolution?  Did they know the point at which it should be escalated?  Did they bring in the appropriate people from other departments to address it thoroughly?  Did they solve the underlying problem to prevent a repeat incident?


I think some people might be more willing to get in there and claim a problem to solve if they realized that it is like being a mini project manager.  You don’t have to do all the work, you must move the project from problem to resolution.  This doesn’t mean all by your lonesome.  You can bounce ideas off of co-workers, your manager.  You can enlist the aid of the appropriate people in other departments.  This becomes a chance to grow.


What happens to unclaimed problems at your office?


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