Be Clear

To engage employees managers need to be deliberate in asking questions

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How bosses communicate is a significant part of leadership. Some may argue it is the most important aspect of motivating and engaging your team. But how do you assess how employees really feel about their work and what frustrates them? How do you elicit the necessary feedback to create an environment that generates enthusiasm and buy-in? Organization experts and authors Paul Cherry and Patrick Connor say most managers don’t ask the right questions. In their book Questions That Get Results: Innovative Ideas Managers Can Use to Improve Their Teams’ Performance (Wiley; $19.95), Cherry and Connor insist that employers should know their employees as well as they know their brand and their customers.

Poorly phrased questions:
“How’s it going?”
“How are you coming along with___(the project, task, job, customer, etc.)?
“Do you have any questions?”
“When can I expect ____?”
“What do you have for me?”

Questions that better engage employees:
“Will you please describe for me how you think we could improve this process?”
“Can you clarify for me how this idea will meet our requirements?”
“Will you please share with me which systems, programs, or people are helpful, and which are a hindrance?”
“Will you please help me understand your thoughts on this project?”

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