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Home » Blog » Why You Need to Stop Fixing the People 

What is one of the most coveted praises for many leaders? That we are capable of problem-solving. It’s a commendable quality, implying the willingness to negotiate, make difficult choices, and persuade others to our point of view.

However, not every “problem” can be solved, particularly when it comes to the day-to-day task of guiding others.

We occasionally view employee situations as problems to be solved as well. Taking a fix-it attitude, no matter how well-intentioned, can be harmful not only to our own success as leaders, but also to the development of those we lead.

Recognizing when practical advice becomes impractical fixes will assist leaders in breaking the fix-it habit.

To Lead, You Don’t Have to Fix Everything (and Everyone)

True leadership is the ability to lead others. It cannot and should not complete the task for anyone. Your workers lose because they don’t learn, and you lose because you don’t teach.

One of the most difficult habits to break is the need to “fix” others.

When the “fixes” are just that—temporary band-aids that don’t foster learning—you’re not leading.

Great leaders, on the other hand, recognise that attempting to fix an individual never succeeds for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the most important:

It promotes distrust. Leadership should be about helping people rather than attempting to fix them. You’ll almost definitely be seen as selfish if you try to fix others. It’s a surefire way to breed resentment, which can quickly escalate into bitterness and rage, poisoning not only your relationship with that employee, but the entire team as well.

It isn’t motivating. It’s the polar opposite of inspiring to hear from your boss, manager, or leader that you need to be fixed. Most of the time, the resulting feelings are a feeling of bafflement that people don’t see you for who you are and what you’re capable of. It demotivates people and causes them to become disengaged.

Here Is How You Can Monitor Your Fix-it Habit

1. Take a pause. Stop before jumping in and correcting others. 

Allow yourself a moment to gather your thoughts so you can make informed choices and act wisely. A wise leader who understands the situation would want to intervene and fix the situation—but won’t. Instead of finding the next move for others, be the one who can ask the questions that take them there. Be a leader who instills trust in others.

2. Stop yourself from telling other people what to do. 

Great leaders don’t tell their followers what they should do. They lead by example, navigate, stand by their people’s sides, and collaborate with them as partners. You never want to be the kind of leader who tells others what they can do. Giving people the opportunity to contribute and provide feedback is a hallmark of a great leader.

3. Don’t judge when you assign work and it isn’t completed well. 

It’s difficult for anyone else to know exactly what you want unless you’re a gifted communicator. If you give someone an assignment and they don’t complete it the way you would avoid the urge to judge them. Instead, use questions to direct them through the work to see if they can come up with a better solution. Allow them time to consider, evaluate, and revise their ideas.

4. Slow down when you want to go fast. 

You might not get excellence or consistency if you want pace. Setting the pace is vital as a leader, but people must also be able to keep up with you. No one will follow you as a leader if you are 10 steps ahead of everyone else—slow down to catch up with the people you want to bring along. Follow in the footsteps of those who are ahead of you.

5. Check yourself when you think you know how to do it better.

As leaders, we have a tendency to believe that we can still do things a little bit differently. Giving the people you hired a chance to do their jobs is, however, an important aspect of leadership. Stop yourself from thinking, “This is how we can do it better.” Allow people to speak up and provide feedback. It is your responsibility to provide a safe environment for others to express themselves and share their ideas. Leadership is not a one-person job; it takes a great team of people to make things happen.

6. Great leaders are adept at a wide range of tasks. 

They have the knowledge and expertise to make it easier, simpler, and faster, as well as the ability to behave wisely and intelligently. However, this does not imply that they should attempt to patch anything that isn’t working. Great leadership isn’t about bragging about how much you know and can do. It’s about allowing someone to demonstrate their own greatness so that you can understand and celebrate it.

Start Creating the Space for Growth

You should have interactions in which people feel safe to freely express themselves without being judged or set, whether you are a leader, a family member, or a friend. Allowing people to express themselves does not encourage negativity; rather, it allows people to grow together.

Fixing other people can quickly become a negative self-identity when you carry the nurturing.

You’ll sacrifice yourself time and time again in order to fulfil the quota of Lives Saved that floats over your head.

You’ll obsessively consider how each decision you make will affect everyone around you.

Every meal, every dollar spent, and every holiday taken (or not taken) will be evaluated in terms of how they will affect the people you feel obligated to care about.

Since our definition of leadership has been distorted as a result of this dysfunctional form of guiding. Leading now seems to be a never-ending series of sacrifices.

To do so, you must be aware of your need to save, restore, or shut down the person who is experiencing distress. Mindfulness is the ability to notice, without judgement, whatever enters your thoughts and travels through your body. When your own feelings start to surface in your body, you become aware of it. Your thoughts and emotions will subside as you become more conscious.

Prefer to be curious rather than understanding what they need. Patient rather than annoyed. Concerned rather than irritated, and courageously quiet sometimes rather than speaking. Remember, relax, and return to being present to the person you’re with, when you use this ability in your everyday practise.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a fix-it Habit ?

A continuous habit of fixing situations/people to add a temporary band aid is called the fix-it habit.

What are the 6 ways to monitor Fix-it Habit for a great leader?

  1. Take a pause. Stop before jumping in and correcting others. 
  2. Stop telling people instead collaborate with them as partners.  
  3. Consider, evaluate, and revise before judging for incomplete assignments. 
  4. Slow down and catch up with the team first, in times when you want to go fast. 
  5. Check yourself when you think you know how to do it better.
  6. Be adaptable. Great leaders are adept at a wide range of tasks. 

Does a good leader fix everything/everyone?

No, a good leadership should be about helping people rather than attempting to fix them because fixing is just temporary sometimes.

How does fixing people lead to disengagement?

When leaders start fixing situations, it becomes non motivating. It causes  demotivation and people become disengaged.

Why should leaders create space for growth?

Good leaders create space for growth so that people feel safe and freely express themselves without being judged.