Sometimes management sayings get caught in the lexicon of the business world and really stick. It can be difficult to make the pitch that these phrases ought to be retired. After they have been repeated so many times, they tend to become common knowledge. Thus, telling people that they should stop using any particular phrase is something that flies in the face of what people have believed for a very long time. That being said, this is exactly what some are saying about the phrase “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions”.
Proponents of this phrase have always said that it cuts down on the whining that employees do. They also proclaim that it helps empower employees to come up with their own solutions to problems rather than always relying on the solutions that the higher-ups are able to generate. Still, it may be something that impedes people from coming to some of the solutions that they need to reach as quickly as possible.
Many business problems are extremely complex, and it is nice to bring about the diversity of opinions that are available in a workplace. Instead of sending someone off to try to come up with the solutions, encouraging them to engage with yourself and others about the issue can provide helpful insights. Otherwise, you have to be satisfied with the answers that just one person can come up with entirely on their own.
Intimidation and fear are two by-products of the “bring me solutions” response. People become entirely afraid to talk to their managers about any issue that they may see in the business. This can produce horrific results in terms of the outcomes. Problems are swept under the rug, and solutions comes just from one mind.
Complaining or whining can be annoying at times, but this is not cause for the managers to say “don’t bring me problems”. What they should be saying is “how can we better work to solve this problem?”. This question encourages the employee to figure out some way to solve whatever it is that they have brought to the attention of the manager. It gives the employee the authority to figure something out for themselves. At the same time, it does not discourage them from bringing up ongoing issues in the future.
Today, employers are encouraged to tell their employees to come up with problem statements rather than whining. The employees are not permitted to just raise an issue just to vent about it. Rather, they must bring up an issue only if they want to see something really done about it, and if they plan to contribute to the solution. We can all complain just fine, what we really need are people who are willing to put in the work to solve the issue.
At the end of the day, the phrase “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions” should more or less be altered. It is not a good enough phrase all by itself, but it is a start towards something more productive.