Encouraging initiatives

We think ourselves generally open to welcoming new ideas, and encourage the taking of initiative... but how to react when ideas don't go in the directions we expect? Restrain them, at the risk of creating discouragement? Give free rein, and perhaps wind up wasting time?
Understand the co-worker's process
It is crucial to understand the constructive process in which a co-worker who has just presented an idea is engaged: What problem does he want to solve? What improvement does he want to make? What does he want to share...? Whatever the outcome of his proposition, the more completely it has been taken into account, the more valuable it is.       
Help to refine the idea
Welcoming a new proposition doesn't mean adopting it directly. It may be necessary to "dig in" to it, to test it, to play the devil's advocate in order to insure that it is pertinent, to adjust it or to call it into question.       
Make sure to follow up
If the co-worker leaves with an action plan, it will be important to stay informed of his discoveries and conclusions. This shows that his propositions are given attention and allows you sometimes to help him overcome obstacles.
What is important is to follow the process all the way through, whether the idea ultimately winds up being implemented or not.       

Each question has only one correct response, but be careful: among the possible responses there is one that is "almost correct" and might make the choice harder!

1 / 3   More initiative ?
You feel that Corentin, one of your experienced collaborators, doesn’t take enough initiative. What do you do ?
You approach him: “Corentin, I’d like you to take more initiative; I know you’re capable”.
Too imprecise. It would be better to identify what’s holding him back from taking the initiative and agree together the expectations.
You question him: “You, generally, ask my approval on things that you should be deciding yourself. Do you notice this too?”
Factual, non-accusing remark. The question allows us to find an agreement over the issue or to ascertain a difference in perception.
You decide to no longer systematically reply to his validation requests so as to force him into dealing with certain issues himself.
Why not? but having predetermined the issues in question with him.
You set him a new annual objective: “become more autonomous.”
Interesting, but the objective isn’t measurable; it needs to be defined by clear expected achievements.
2 / 3   To be repeated ?
Soraya has just hosted a meeting using a new kind of approach, with an unusual group game. The meeting is a success and she wants this to become a monthly occurrence.
What do you decide?

This initiative is interesting, but, exceptionally. There’s no use systemizing it.
Premature conclusion. There’s possibly something we could retain from this initiative?
You give credit to Soraya for her initiative and commend her. Still, you remind her that the company isn’t really open to this kind of thinking long term.
Is that so sure? Just what the limits “outside the box” are, could be a discussion point.
You accept: if this method of hosting works, then we must systemize it
A little too quick! A few questions (see response 4) would be useful before taking up a position, and they would help Soraya to reflect.
Before giving your decision, have a discussion with Soraya: Which topics are worthy of this type of monthly group meeting? How would the team benefit?
This questioning is necessary and gives value Soraya’s initiative without blindly endorsing her idea.
3 / 3   Too involved
You find that you are too involved in the daily work of the team and, because of this, your collaborators count on you too much. What do you do?
You say to them: "I feel I am too involved in the day to day work, is that the impression that you get?" 
Yes, this is the first step before imagining solutions adapted to the dynamics of the team.
You announce: "I’m going to delegate certain tasks which will enable me to concentrate on my main task".
To delegate is a good idea but the approach, close to justification, could be misunderstood.
You force yourself to take a step back from the daily work by no longer intervening in certain questions.
OK, but on condition you prepare the ground: the team could interpret your taking a step back badly.
You alert them:"you count too much on me and I am snowed under with your requests.
You are laying the blame on them! you are also responsible for the situation.
Your score is
You finished!
To review the questions and responses, please choose from the list below.