What questions do you ask your team? Why do you ask them? The best managers and leaders are intentional about how they communicate with their employees. They consider what they ask, why they ask it and they engage in the practice of Q&A regularly.
We believe that listening to employees and understanding them is far more valuable than telling them what to do. That’s why we created software for companies to efficiently ask employees quantitative questions, as well as open-ended ones like the ones you’ll read below.
Questions help managers build strong relationships with employees and read the pulse of their teams on a regular basis. That way, when they do have to step in and offer support or mentorship, employees feel safe to speak candidly, and managers can provide feedback tailored specifically to the needs of each employee.
There is a sweet spot on the spectrum between micromanagement and absence. Questions allow managers to address frustrations while employees feel just enough challenge to enjoy their roles.
I recommend asking your team this feedback question:
David Hassell, co-founder and CEO of 15Five
I ask this because employees have a fundamental human desire to continue to grow and evolve personally and professionally. When managers support this growth, employees become more engaged and feel more invested in the company.
I asked these influencers to share the top questions they ask their teams and why. Their answers and more are included in The Great eBook of Employee Questions, which contains 70 valuable questions to ask employees and explanations on why you should ask them.
Simon Sinek, founder/author of Start With Why
“It gives people a safe space to report on what needs a fix or who needs help. Asking ‘what’s working and what’s not’ always gives lopsided answers (from Charlie Kim, CEO of NextJump).”
Dave Kashen, CEO of Worklife
“This question gives them an owner’s perspective. Leaders get feedback on how we could be doing a better job as a company and how I could be doing a better job as CEO. ‘How could I be doing a better job?’ doesn’t feel as personal.”
Anese Cavanaugh, creator of the IEP Method
“It gets employees present to what is right now, how they feel, what’s important, and what they want to make happen. It also helps us troubleshoot if they’re not excited about something and possibly figure out a better way (or ditch if it’s perpetual).”
Rand Fishkin, Wizard of Moz
“I want to find what’s stopping progress and do everything in my power to eliminate those roadblocks.”
Renee Warren, founder of Onboardly
“I want to find out if they feel overwhelmed. ‘Busy’ is an OK word, but as soon as they indicate that they are overwhelmed, it throws up a red flag. Anxiety equals a loss of focus and generally really bad work, so we want to make sure that they are confident in their daily tasks.”
Ryan Holiday, author and media strategist
“The boss’s job is to help and support their employees so they can do what they’re supposed to do.”
Shane Metcalf, VP of Customer Success at 15Five
“I ask this question at the beginning of my leadership meetings, and it’s always incredibly revealing. It tells you way more than if someone is having fun — it reveals how stressed they are, how well we’re doing to create an environment in which people are loving their work, and sends the signal, ‘Yes, it’s OK to have fun!’”
Darren Virassammy, co-founder of 34 Strong
“One, my job as a leader is to serve my team. Understanding their needs and identifying ways to meet them allows my team to operate at an optimized level. Two, mining for needs helps to establish accountability on the team and a sense of who owns what. It also opens up the conversation for what needs the team has of each other.”
Shawn Murphy, co-founder and CEO of Switch & Shift
“I ask the question to promote collaboration, democracy and goodwill.”
Good questions have the power to spark innovation. They avoid fire drills and help employees show up as their best selves. Go ahead and begin the practice of asking your team thought-provoking questions on a regular basis. They can help you manage your workplace culture, keep people motivated, and ensure happy and loyal teams across your organization.
This post originally appeared on Business Collective.