Tuesday July 31st, 2018
When managing any team, the goal should always be continual growth and development – not just on the part of your employees, but on your part as well. As a team, it is important to maintain communication and develop great working relationships in order to work more cohesively and efficiently towards achieving your company objectives.
One important way to ensure that your team is always operating on the same page and functioning at its optimal level is to keep your finger on the pulse of company morale. Company morale heavily impacts company culture. If some of your employees are struggling or harboring negative feelings about their work or your management tactics, that negativity can drastically impact the workplace environment.
It is incredibly important to check in regularly with your employees, gauge their feelings about their jobs and the environment in which they work, and offer an opportunity for them to voice any potential concerns before they get out of control. To do this, you’ll need to ask a few simple questions to all your employees on a regular basis.
Put aside the numbers for a moment; forget deadlines and assessments. Have an honest conversation with your employees that puts their wellbeing at the top of your priorities. It may seem like such a simple question, but just asking it can have a positive impact on your employees’ outlook. It shows that you care about more than their productivity and proficiency in their work. You care about their overall sense of satisfaction.
The answer to this question can give you a lot of insight as a manager. Perhaps you have an employee that has been performing well, always contributes in meetings and always meets or exceeds expectations. Perhaps they never complain, and you like that they are a drama-free employee. But in asking this question, you might find that they aren’t feeling challenged enough, or that they feel stagnant in their position and want to move up in the company.
A conversation about your employees’ satisfaction in their work could be the difference between creating a loyal employee who feels valued and losing your best talent to another company with a more supportive culture.
The value in this question lies in the way you present it. Don’t just ask your employees “Do you need help?” because it’s too easy for them to just say “No, thank you” and go about their business. Ask them specifically how you can help, and it will automatically generate a dialogue in their minds that is more likely to produce a useful answer.
This is yet another question that demonstrates respect and value for your employees, while also giving you a good glimpse of each person’s strengths and weaknesses. If you are consistently getting the same answer from an employee, perhaps it’s time to adjust their position. If you hear of a new problem every time you ask the question, it may be wise to discuss further training in your employee’s evaluation and review.
Ultimately, asking how you can help just shows your employees that you support them and that you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and work alongside them rather than dictating from afar. That kind of leadership builds loyalty and positivity in any workplace, so this is definitely a question that you need to ask regularly. It can’t be something you ask once and forget about or that you don’t follow through on. Ask for an honest answer, and then act on that information in a way that benefits the employee and the team as a whole.
This is a question that many managers and leaders struggle to ask. Some are afraid to hear the answer, while others are oblivious to their own faults and may not even consider it to be worthwhile. But this is the most important question of all because it is your leadership that shapes the environment in which your team is working. You set the tone and the status quo. It is vitally important to know when your leadership is missing the mark or steering your team in the wrong direction.
Don’t just ask your employees if they like you, or if you’re a good manager. Ask them for specific answers about how you can improve. You will almost certainly get a useful answer if the question is framed in that manner. It may be something as simple as talking slower during meetings, or you may even find out that you have a bad habit of interrupting your employees, making them feel insignificant.
Whatever the results, the answers your employees give should be welcomed, accepted and acted upon. It does no good to lead with an ego and assume that you have no learning left to do.
And if you don’t know, you can’t lead effectively. Great leaders know their teams inside and out. They understand their needs and their frustrations as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Regularly asking these three questions demonstrates respect for your employees and makes them feel like valuable assets to the company while also helping you to be the best leader you can be.