Yes or No

At marbl we are a pragmatic team, we like to share simple tips & tricks to make your work life easier. What if I would give you a tip that not only saves you time, but also helps you develop your employees in a smart way?

I recently attended a masterclass by Taco Oosterkamp about leadership and how to “delegate shamelessly”. One of the major struggles raised by the attendees was that their team members absorbed a lot of their time by asking a lot of questions, which created a lot of extra work. We heard “My team shows up with problems, instead of coming up with solutions”. Does this sound familiar?

The Yes/No email: no more questions, please

Making team members independent requires you to train them in thinking a little bit further, in coming up with clever solutions and creative ideas before barging into your office with yet another problem. Here is a simple trick: implement the Yes/No e-mails. This means that they can only e-mail you (or bother you ;-)), when they explain a certain problem, accompanied by options and possible solutions, in such way that you only need to reply with “Yes go for it” or “No. Please just think this through again”.

Make delegating work

I hear you think… is this possible? The answer is yes. But there are some conditions. It requires that all research, possible scenarios, clever options, etc. have to be thought through beforehand. It also means that your team member must build a case based upon the best possible solution that only requires your Yes or No. Now, this might not seem easy to implement right away, but it’s worthwhile trying it. Not just once, you and your team need to get used to this new way of working. Just try it a couple of times to see to what extent your team members can come up with solutions instead of problems. That way you can focus on your work, and on the development of your team’s independent thinking abilities.

Two words can save you loads of time

So, next time you get an e-mail with problems, just reply by “Can you please come up with scenarios, options and the solution that sounds best to you and why, so I can simply reply with Yes or No?”. After you all get used to this new way of working, I bet you’ll be surprised of how much time this will save you. And I hope you’ll be stunned by the creativity of your team members!


Eager to hear more tips for streamlining great leadership? Get in touch with us and we can look at how we can work this out together.

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