Questions You Should Ask Every Employee

If you’re looking to improve on your ability to lead people, it can be difficult knowing where to start. Having probing conversations will help you build better relationships with your team and improve on your management skills. By asking the right questions you will be able to kick off a dialogue about important topics that your employees might not bring up on their own. Bringing up these kinds of big picture questions can get lost in the day-to-day tasks teams are trying to accomplish, but they impact your employee’s job satisfaction and their satisfaction with your engagement and leadership. Bring these questions into your next one-on-one meetings with your team members and you will be surprised at what you might learn about how to be a better leader.
How do you define personal and professional success?
Knowing how your team member’s define success will let you know what you can do to best position them to achieve their goals. It also gives you an opportunity to decide how to best create and communicate internal promotion pathways.
What are the challenges or difficulties you’re experiencing?
These challenges may be personal or professional, but knowing what the issues are will allow you to work collaboratively to develop solutions. Addressing problems directly will help reduce turnover and improve job satisfaction, you don’t want to be hearing problems for the first time during an exit interview.
What can I do to best help you?
Similar to identifying challenges and solutions, there may be other ways that you can better help your employee. For example, an employee might want more opportunities to showcase their leadership skills or they might want more feedback or more frequent check-ins.
How do you prefer to communicate?
Whether you’re working in the office or remotely, communication preferences matter and everyone has different preferred styles of communication. Some people prefer video conferencing, email, phone call or IM, and while you cannot always accommodate these preferences it will help you know the best way to have regular conversations. In addition to preferred communication tools, you should ask about how they prefer to receive constructive feedback and praise, and what they would want included as part of their regular one on ones.
Another valuable tool in building relationships with your team is a 360 degree assessment.
A 360 degree assessment is a tool used to gather anonymous feedback from the people working most closely with someone, it includes direct reports (in the case of people managers), peers, managers and can even include clients. You can use information learned in a 360 review of yourself and your employee to have more informed conversations. For example, it allows you to say to your employee that your 360 feedback revealed to you that you don’t always do a great job of involving others in your decision making, and in an effort to improve upon that you want to identify areas where you can work more collaboratively. These kinds of assessments allow you to bring up sensitive topics in a way that doesn’t put an employee on the spot or burden them with having to bring constructive criticism to their leaders.

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