Here's a typical scenario between a subordinate and a boss:
Bill comes up to Sally, the boss, who is running to a meeting, and says, "We have a problem with x." Sally says, "Thanks for bringing that to my attention, Bill. I'm in a rush now but I'll think about it and get back to you."
What's happened? Before this meeting, the problem was Bill's. Now it's Sally's—the problem has been delegated up.
The late management guru Bill Oncken called this "Who's got the monkey?" Whenever two people talk about a problem, one of them leaves with the monkey on his or her back--the one who has to take the next step.
You want to keep the monkey on the employee's back, so instead of saying "I'll think about it," say, "Send me a memo with your recommendation," or "Brainstorm some ideas of how to solve this problem and come back to me with the best three."
Now the monkey stays where it belongs.
HR managers have to have tough conversations every day—monkey talks, sure, but also coaching, disciplining, performance management, and, of course, firing.
These conversations are never going to be fun, but you can learn to handle them calmly and professionally.
Thanks to BLR