One of the most important traits of a leader is "Confidence".
Confidence is sometimes appearing as knowing what to do. Both Customers
and project team members expect the Project Manager to have the
answer. The team will come to the PM asking what to do in a given
situation. Sometimes answer is easy, other times.... Someone once said
to me: “People are coming to me with problems, but when I ask about
possible solutions they often provide a well-thought out, reasonable
solution which is usually a good resolution. However, they are hesitant
to make decision on their own and wait for the PM to make it for them.
Can this be thought of as "Risk Transfer"? Sure... Team members don’t
want to make decisions, even when they’re rather safe decisions, they
would rather transfer the risk of the decisions outcome to the PM.
Makes sense right? I'm sure you've seen this before in a project you've
lead. A good leader is one who knows what to do and looks confident
with his decisions. When the PM appears as though he/she doesn’t know
what to do, you can be sure the project team is even in worse
When someone comes to me with a problem, I listen and then ask what they think is a good solution. I help them to make a decision. When the presented solution(s) is not acceptable, I try to get as much information as possible and try to suggest other trains of thought or even another solution. Usually the person bringing the problem is able to find a resonable solution during our discussion. The PM's role is to stimulate and motivate the team member, then to say “OK" to a reasonable solution and to look like they know it's the right solution (even when they are not sure).
You have a responsibility as a Project Manager to aid your teams and help them grow professionally. My simple piece of advice: Encourage and motivate your teams to find solutions to potential problems when they come to you for help.