This is a guest post
About The Author
David Hassell is the co-founder and CEO of 15Five, a web-based performance management app that improves employee engagement via a lightweight weekly check-in. David has been named “The Most Connected Man You Don’t Know In Silicon Valley” by Forbes Magazine, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur, Wired, and Fast Company. You can follow him on Twitter at @dhassell.
10 Inciting Questions That Every Manager Should Ask Their Employees
In business, we are often so results focused that we can discourage the disruptive thinking that leads to success. But curiosity is vital for building companies and healthy relationships between managers and employees.
We are in the business of employee feedback and engagement. We’ve had tens of thousands of managers ask questions inside our weekly check-in app to solicit quality feedback, spark innovation, improve their culture, and help employees grow.
Employees want to grow in their roles, and a manager’s job is to help them get there. Asking these 10 questions will transform managers into coaches that guide employees to begin working on solutions for themselves.
What challenges are you facing and how can I help?
Every employee from entry level up through the C-suite needs challenge. Growth keeps your job and your life interesting. Sometimes there is too much challenge which leads to frustration and eventually disengagement. Great leaders are aware of each employee’s sweet spot for challenges and they can step in with advice and coaching when needed.
What could distract you next week from making progress on your goals? How could you minimize those distractions?
While software makes us more efficient, it can also pull us away from focused work (I’m looking at you email and Facebook). These behaviors become habitual and eventually invisible to us. This question brings awareness back to the activities that are more harmful than helpful.
What do you want to be able to do in 6 months that you can’t do now?
I gain loyalty, alignment, and visibility into what is challenging and exciting for the team, which then drives strategic and tactical decisions to align the company behind the visions of the employees.
What inspires you to succeed every day?
We can chalk challenges up to “having a bad day” or we can be way more analytical. Create the realization that employees can seek people or experiences that will influence their success.
Anything in your work world that’s less than stellar/causing frustration or delays?
Sometimes something peripheral can have tremendous impact on getting things done. It could be a noisy office space or IT issues. After a while, employees might just “deal with it” instead of enrolling someone who can actually resolve the issues.
Reflection: looking back on the week, is there anything that could have gone better?
Recollecting the details of a long week of multi-tasking, meetings, getting to inbox zero, and putting out fires can be difficult. Try adding entries to a work journal at the end of the day so that you can do a weekly post-mortem and optimize your workflow.
If you had someone to delegate tasks that are NOT in your Zone of Genius (so you could increase the % of time in your ZOG), what specific tasks and responsibilities would you delegate?
A Zone of Genius is the group of skills that allow people to add the most value. Dan Martell explains that anything that is high frequency and low value (outside your ZOG) should be out-tasked.
Are you crystal clear on your role and what you should be working on? If not, what aspects aren’t clear?
They say that worrying is like praying for the things you don’t want. But we all have to consider the future, especially when we are unclear about how to create it in a good way. Sharing what we are worried about, or just getting it out of our minds and into a doc, frees up that energy.
What needs to you have from me?
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. Mining for needs helps to establish accountability on the team and a sense of who owns that. It also opens up the conversation for what needs the team has of each other.
Of your accomplishments this week, which one are you most proud of and why?
Taking pride in one’s work used to be far more ubiquitous than it is today. A faster paced world means that we often optimize for quantity over quality. This question reminds us of that great feeling of pride in a job well done.
A well-crafted question can inspire and illuminate, and often brings co-workers closer together. Poorly worded questions can create confusion and disconnection.
I have curated 70 of the best questions from entrepreneurs, coaches, leaders, and our customers, and compiled them in The Great eBook of Employee Questions. It is broken down by categories, such as culture, progress, productivity, morale, coaching, and growth, and accompanied by explanations of why you should ask them.
Also included are top questions from experts – Simon Sinek, Ryan Holiday, Anese Cavanaugh, Rand Fishkin, Shawn Murphy and others. Click here to download the eBook for free.