Since we are little we are taught that, if we want to know something, we must ask . Whenever we have a doubt or don’t know about something, asking the right questions is the easiest way to find the solution to the problem or challenge that we face. The world of organizations is no exception. And, in fact, good leaders know that their role is more about asking and listening than about talking and directing.
However, some leaders think that asking their employees is a sign of weakness. They may even have the impression that if they ask too much, they can generate mistrust among their team. After all, as a manager, you’re supposed to have all the answers, right?
This false belief is what leads to, on many occasions, people who exercise a leadership position never ask their employees about important issues that concern the development of the business.
A fact that causes the misalignment of the team with the strategic objectives, lack of commitment, low motivation, and the feeling that the employees are not part of a common project. That is, everything that a leader must prevent from happening.
But, when you ask the right questions, you are giving people in your company the opportunity to share their vision about what matters to them and affects their job performance. In other words, you contribute to their empowerment.
That’s why asking questions to get to know your team is key to making a business work. You will not only be able to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in your management, knowing what works and what does not. It is also a good way to engage the team in the company, making them more committed and satisfied. And that is what a good leader should do.
If you want to improve your leadership and manage your department effectively, you can start with these 7 questions below.
7 questions to get to know your employees
1. “What are your job aspirations?”
Understanding the aspirations of your collaborators is key to knowing what motivates them and what does not to continue growing. Some people are interested in better positions, others want excellence, and others want to achieve a balance between their work and personal life that ensures a good quality of life.
Knowing this is important because thanks to this information you will be able to establish short-term objectives that help align the needs of the collaborators with the long-term strategy of the company.
2. “What can I do to help you achieve your goals?”
As a leader, you must ensure that your team has the right tools to perform their tasks. This includes not only material resources, but also knowledge and skills that help them become better professionals.
Asking what employees need will not only let you know what you should invest in for their professional improvement, but it will make them see that you really care about them so their experience in the company is as rewarding as possible.
3. “What do you think is your contribution to the company?”
This question is used to understand how employees see the role they play within the organization. It is very useful for setting expectations and identifying the most ambitious people who will become tomorrow’s future leaders.
Thanks to this question, it will be much easier for you to express what you expect from employees and they will be able to understand what their role is, avoiding misunderstandings that could lead to dissatisfaction, stress, and low productivity.
4. “What are the signs that tell you that you are on the right path?”
In the same way, this question asks about the worth that employees place on their own performance.
Understanding how team members interpret that a project is meeting the standards expected from the company will help you identify with which employees you should reinforce the feedback to guide them towards the best results.
5. “Do you think the company will be able to meet its goals?”
It is important to know how the employees see the future of the company. Their perspective will help us know if the long-term goals are realistic and capable, or maybe we may need to rethink our strategy.
In any case, it is necessary to share with them what the company’s mission is and what we want to do. An honest and transparent communication makes it easier for the workforce to engage with the company culture, which will make it easier for them to defend goals and fight to meet them.
6. “X is not working as it should. What would you do to improve it?”
As we said at the beginning, a manager does not have to have all the answers. And, as a leader, you know you’re working alongside great professionals (that’s why you hired them, right?). So when problems arise, why not solve them with teamwork?
Evaluating the situation of the company together with the rest of your collaborators is an advantage because two minds think better than one. But, in addition, when you ask for the opinion of employees, you are showing that they are not just a number, but that they are people you value and whose help and involvement are important to you. A fact that will undoubtedly boost their confidence in your leadership.
7. “Do you think I’m playing a good role as a leader? What could I improve?”
In the same way the manager must asses the performance of the team, employees can evaluate the performance of the manager. It’s a scary question and can be uncomfortable, but it’s essential to empowering your leadership.
Keep an open mind and encourage your collaborators to be honest. Explain to them that their feedback will help you to continue learning so that you can become the leader that the team needs.
We know these questions are not easy to answer, and employees can feel pressure and not answer truthfully. So, the best is to use a specialized software.
Team Insights is a free employee survey tool that allows employees to answer these and other questions anonymously. Thus, you ensure that the information you collect is meaningful and has a true impact on your leadership strategy.