If you are not attentive to it, you could find yourself being the employee (or contractor) who fits this complaint:

“I’m more and more amazed by the inability to think for oneself, particularly my employees.  They will badger and badger me with emails, calls, or text messages about things that they really and truly can figure out for themselves.

And it’s not as though I require authorization for every little decision that has to be made.  In fact, nine times out of ten, if I don’t respond the employee solves the problem just fine.  But then again, if they don’t solve it they wait on me.  And then they don’t do anything.  And that is worse because it makes me feel that I need to answer (and fast) which creates tension because I want to continue on what I am currently working on.  I want to be doing entrepreneurial work, not troubleshooting technical matters or making decisions for them.  So what to do?

Maybe a course on decision-making?  Can you really teach someone how to think for herself?  Does one really need a course on that kind of thing?  I’ve tried explaining this directly to them, but that does not seem like enough.  They still ring, send, ASK.

Perhaps, as Seth Godin says in Linchpin, we’ve hired on some drones and so there is really no other option other than to assign drone-like tasks to the drones and figure out who (if any) among the current employees are actually linchpins and who will never be.  Then try to find and hire on a few.  We’d compensate them well if they could only think on the “edges” of the box, at least.”

If you are the subject of this frustrated boss, what can you do to be different?

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