Asking your employees the right questions

March 22, 2011

question markI’m sure that being in a management position is a delicate balance between trusting your employees to do a job well done and keeping tabs on the jobs they’re doing. You don’t want to hover, but you don’t want to find out too late that there’s an issue, either.

So, the question is, what questions are good ones to ask your employees? suggests one in particular — “How can I help?”

That question can take many forms — how a manager can help solve a problem, if the employee is thinking about how they can build on a previous issue, if the manager can do anything to ensure the employee’s success. And by asking questions of employees, managers can learn more about the departments and people they’re managing, and from the people who know most about it to boot. Plus, what’s the one office gripe everyone has? That their office doesn’t communicate well. Asking questions — the right ones — is one way to head that confusion off.

And then there’s the question that I always try to ask when I’m done speaking to a client or someone I’m otherwise working with — “What else should I know? Is there anything else you want to tell me?” I’ve often gotten information I wasn’t expecting by asking this question (and the story gives another example or two, as well), just because the person I’m talking to then has a chance to say whatever is on his or her mind.

Here’s a question for you: What do you think? Have you tried to use this management skill? What success have you had?

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia and Allentown, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Philadelphia and Allentown. We would love to connect with you on Facebook as well.

Image courtesy of purpleslog via Flickr
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