Fear of asking questions at work? 7 tips to overcome it and boost your business

miedo a preguntar en el trabajo

Asking questions at work is a common fear for both employees and employers themselves. The reasons range from fear of appearing ignorant, unprofessional, boring or, in the worst case, the person isn’t to be interested in knowing the answer. Anyway, you have to lose the fear of asking questions because far from seem unprofessional, is a very powerful resource to boost your business.

If you want to boost your teams, you must ask your employees

Every person who undertakes and starts a business expects it to grow it and having a success position over competitors. To accomplish this task, it is necessary to work (and a lot) in all those aspects that make the organization work while solving the areas for improvement.

The objective is not simple, and we will need all the possible information about the organization, including that which, given our position, we cannot know for ourselves. Luckily, there is a resource that can be used to jump over that wall: asking our employees.

Asking employees is the simplest, fastest, and most effective way to obtain all the information we need to know the state of our company and allow us to draw up strategies that promote competitiveness within the market.

But before this perspective, fears often arise:

  • What if the answers are too negative?
  • What if the perception of others is not aligned with what I need?
  • What if it makes me look unprofessional?

These and other questions are the ones that usually prevent people from asking others questions that sometimes make the difference between success and failure.

Asking is the key to success

Dr. Wayne Baker, professor and director of Business Administration and professor of Management & Organizations at the Ross School of Business of the University of Michigan, conducted a study that he published in the book “All you have to do is ask: how to master the most important skill for success”.

According to Dr. Baker: “90% of the help we give is in response to people who ask directly. But of course, you have to ask”.

How can we help our teams boost their satisfaction and motivation? What can we do to improve their job well-being? The answers to these questions that influence productivity so much are among the staff.

A good question, at the right time, is often the fastest way to success: not only because it helps you get the answers you need, but also because it is an excellent strategy to get new ideas that make you stand out among your competitors.

Asking, if done strategically, has many benefits that allow you to improve as a professional and expand your business.



Far from seems unprofessional, when we ask what we really do it is an act of genuine interest. We show that we care about our work and our workers, that we want to invest time in doing things well, and that we want to ensure the proper functioning of the organization.

So, maybe we can receive negative responses, but we need to overcome fear and make that connection employee-employer.

Each organization and each profession are a world that will require its own questions and its own methods. However, there are a few tips that will help you deal with the fears of asking questions at work, and we will tell you about them below.

7 Tips to lose the fear of asking your teams

1. Focus on your objective

Have you ever tried to imagine what the answers would be like before asking the questions? When you want to get information from your colleagues, think about the problem you want to solve and take note for all the questions you may ask to found the solution.

The answers to these questions will be very valuable, because they have been prepared from the right perspective.

2. Think about the benefits you will get

Many people avoid asking questions at work because they think they will be annoying or wasting their colleagues’ time. Instead of focusing on false attributions, it is better to think about all the benefits and positive impact of asking on the team.

When you ask questions, you show that you are seeking for solutions.

3. Don’t wait for things to go wrong

You don’t have to wait for dropping sales to ask what’s going wrong. Asking employees and offering help at all times is a benefit for everyone. In addition, if you always wait until things go wrong to ask for explanations, your colleagues will think that you only relate with them  for personal interests, so do not be surprised to be judged.

To avoid that, ask frequently for establish a trusting relationship. The entire organization will appreciate it.

4. Leave a space for the team to contribute

When we ask our employees about the issues that affect the performance of the company, we are not only looking for information, we are also giving the opportunity to employees to contribute their own ideas and contribute to the growth of the business.

Don’t be afraid to ask your staff, they will surely offer you fresh and original ideas that drive the success of the organization.

5. Use the right communication channel

There are questions that are better to ask in person, but other times it is better to leave a space for anonymity, especially if we know that the information we want to get can be sensitive to employees (and for us).

Team Insights allows employee response in an anonymous way if they wish, establishing a safe feedback communication channel for transparent and reliable data collection.

In addition to improving the quality of the data, this channel offers sufficient privacy to assimilate information that has not been particularly positive, avoiding the public exposure that stops us of asking our teams.

7. Use the correct questions

The key is use questions that serve to learn and not to judge others. They are the type of questions that reveal curiosity and desire to improve, that seek explanations and not guilty, solutions and not excuses, discoveries and not criticisms.

These are a few questions that you can use:

  • What can I improve as a manager?
  • How can I help you achieve your goals?
  • Do you think I value your successes enough?

7. What if you don’t ask?

To overcome your fear of asking questions at work, consider the other alternative: don’t asking.

If you do not ask your employees, you lose the opportunity to deeply know the status of your company and miss relevant information that would allow you to outperform your competitors. Isn’t that worse?

Asking questions demonstrates self-awareness and goal orientation, constant learning, and helps build confidence with colleagues.

What if we found negative answers?

In that case we must consider the fact whether the negative issues have to do with our professional or personal development, or actually have nothing to do with us and concern secondary issues.

In any case, these issues should not be an offense but an opportunity to improve things and build an organizational environment that favors the development of the professionals who work with us and, the organization itself.

Asking questions is a way to strengthen the interaction between colleagues and allows you to find effective solutions to issues that affect the entire company. We recommend you that if you are not asking your teammates yet, you must start doing it right now.

Team Insights is a software for team managers and HR professionals who are not afraid for asking questions at work and want to know the opinions of their employees . The platform performs regular pulse surveys that collect all the information you need and turn it into actionable actions, so you can make the best decisions with reliable data.

Questions are a very powerful tool. Don’t be afraid, the results will surprise you.

Try Team Insights now , it’s free!

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