As a business leader, you’re a pro at asking questions. Budget updates. Timeline details. Marketing channels. And of course, you ask about team members.
Or do you?
At the frenzied pace of your role, you may focus on what’s right in front of you—the urgent—and forget the most important piece of the business puzzle: your team. Keeping in touch with them must be a priority if you want to move your career and company forward.
To increase productivity and employee satisfaction, here are three questions you need to ask your team members on a regular basis:
1. How Are You?
It’s a simple question, right? You’d be surprised at how many leaders don’t ask it because they don’t really want to stop and listen to an honest answer. The passion and ambition that have made you a successful leader can also be the cause of your downfall. Your focus and determination could be driving a wedge between your team and you if you don’t make the deliberate effort to show you care about them, not just the work they produce.
Asking this question—and actively listening to the answer—can also give you insights into your team members’ productivity levels. For instance, if you know that your assistant manager has been up the last three nights with their baby, you probably know why there is a slump in their sales. You may want to surprise them with their favorite cup of coffee one morning.
2. What Are You Working On?
Let me ask you an honest question: Do you know what each team member is doing? I’m not talking generalities. I mean specifics. Yes, you have supervisors and managers who keep in touch with the tiny details, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to check in with team members regularly.
Asking this question serves two purposes. First, it keeps your team members accountable. And that’s good. Second, asking about current projects can reveal a team member’s satisfaction level. If they shrug and just give you the bare minimum with no passion, then you may need to have a longer conversation. On the flip side, if they come alive telling you about their work, you know they’re thriving in that role.
3. How Can I Help?
This demonstrates your commitment to help your team members succeed in their roles. Nothing frustrates your employees more than being given a task to complete but not having the tools to make it happen. They want to do their jobs well, but if they don’t have the resources, they’ll get frustrated.
Here’s the hard part: Some people don’t know what they need. They just know they need help. If that’s the case, then you need to sit down and talk through the project together. Ask questions and listen more than you talk. Eventually, you will discover the barriers that are impeding the work from getting It may be a software glitch. Or a team member may not know how to resolve conflict well. Maybe more training is the key. But, if you never ask the question, you won’t know how to find the answer!
Good vs. Great
Asking these three questions helps team members feel loved and appreciated. It develops trust and fosters loyalty. The time you take to invest in employees will pay off when you see them develop a passion for their work and strive to become better at what they do. And when that happens, stand back and watch your business skyrocket to the next level!