Sabrina Starling PhD, PCC, BCC

1 Strategy to Get Employees Thinking for Themselves



Does it ever feel like you could get more done, if only you had fewer interruptions?

Because you’re the business owner, you tend to be “the one who knows how to do everything” in the business.  It’s tempting for employees to come to you with questions before trying to figure things out on their own. In the interest of “saving time,” it’s tempting for you to answer their questions and move on.

However, doing this repeatedly creates a much bigger problem…you become the bottleneck in your business. When you’re the bottleneck, you can’t get around to doing the work “ON” your business that you need to be doing to grow it and add value.

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If you’re bombarded with “How do I do this?” questions from employees, try implementing the “3 Before Me” rule of thumb. Before an employee comes to you with a question, they know they are expected to try 3 ways to find the solution. For example, they might look up directions, tinker with the problem themselves, or ask a co-worker.

To effectively implement the 3 Before Me rule of thumb:

1)  Make sure your employees are adequately trained in their position.
2)  Let employees know the “3 Before Me” rule of thumb is your expectation

We teach people how to treat us. So, if you are finding yourself frustrated by employees who don’t seem to think for themselves, try implementing the 3 Before Me rule of thumb. It may take a few weeks, but if you stick with it, you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Article written by :
Sabrina Starling PhD, PCC, BCC
Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist™ and author of the How to Hire the Best series is the founder of Tap the Potential. Tap the Potential specializes in transforming small businesses into highly profitable, Great Places to Work! Never one to accept status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients' growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world's leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses — no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing — and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from strengths. With her background in psychology, and years of driving profit in small business, Dr. Starling knows what it takes to find, keep and get exceptional performance out of your biggest investment — your team members. Visit Dr. Sabrina and the Tap the Potential Family at While you’re there, be sure to check out all the great resources, including Dr. Sabrina’s most in-demand webinar, How to Make Your Time Worth 10K an Hour.
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3 Responses to 1 Strategy to Get Employees Thinking for Themselves

  1. Donna says:

    This is such a simple tool, which it what makes it so elegant! And you are so right, Sabrina. As leaders, we have to set the expectations and encourage our employees to rise to those expectations.

  2. Edwin Soler says:

    Simplicity, the old is new again! When we walk away from keep things simple, only trouble will await. This post so short yet so simply powerful!

  3. Yvonne Hart says:

    Thanks for great tips we can pass to our clients, Dr. Sabrina!

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