I work in an office environment and have been working with the same person for 9 months now. She will not take matters into her own hands without consulting with me first. I want her to make her own decisions and stop being so afraid to do things on her own. I have been telling her to handle things how she sees fit but she still comes to me with every little thing. I used to do this when I was a newbie but I don't think I did it for 9 months straight. What can I do?
She needs to do something on her own and then fail at it. This way she overcomes the fear of failure. Once she fails and the situation is then resolved and she hasn't, for example, lost her job or gotten reprimanded, then she will be more confident to take on other tasks.
Give her a task. Something simple and then praise her good work. Then give her something more difficult and repeat. The true learning lesson will be when she fails and realizes that she still has a job.
Tell her up front that you've given her all the advice she needs to do the job well, and she shouldn't be afraid of making mistakes. It's part of learning and growing. If she continues her habit after that, then you have to be blunt and tell her that you're not going to help her anymore, and she's going to have to learn to make decisions on her own because that's life.
She's a grown woman and doesn't need to lean on you for everything. Don't cripple her anymore by allowing her to use you as a crutch. She needs to walk on her own two feet and learn to deal with and overcome her fears.
You don't say what this woman's prior experience is. If she's brand new to the world of work it's understandable she's shy about her own abilities.
I like paradigmsearch's answer. Turn the tables back on her and make her think it through on her own. You could hasten this independence by actively seeking out her opinion on issues you, yourself are facing!!!
Give her some bad advice on something which isn't terribly important and let her screw up. She'll have to overcome that particular fear.
While it's true she may be afraid to trust her own judgment, she may also be used to being told what to do. That way if something doesn't turn out right she doesn't get blamed, it's the other persons fault. You're just going to have to use "tough love" and let her either fail or succeed. She does not trust herself.
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