Here’s the first question, and it’s a classic:
All too often managers continue making statements and give instructions to people, and we don’t ask them their opinion. Yet, this simple question can really open up a broad conversation around ideas from your people. Take the time more often to just say to people “hey, what do you think”? Keep quiet and listen carefully to their responses.
That may seem an obvious question, yet in his book ‘The 8th Principle’ Stephen Covey gave a great example of just how unclear people can be. He used data from thousands of employees in businesses large and small and linked the findings to a football (soccer) analogy. To cut a long story short, he was basically saying that if you applied the results to a football team over 80% of the team would be competing against their own side most of the time, rather than against the opposition. Fewer than 20% of the team would be clear on which was their own goal. You don’t want to fall into that trap with your people, so asking this question encourages people to express their understanding of your expectations and gives you the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings before it is too late.
As managers, our job is to create the space, the room for our people to succeed. Here are some questions that will help you in that endeavour.