25 Questions Managers Should Ask Their Employees

Many managers are familiar with the say-isms about giving constructive feedback such as it should be timely, specific, and continuous. However, fewer managers know how to solicit productive feedback for themselves and employees.

To lead this generation of employees, managers must transition from solely giving feedback to soliciting productive questions that create an opportunity for coaching.

In the context of one-on-one meetings with a direct report, here are 25 questions managers should ask their employees.

Supportive:

The best support you could give as a leader or coach derives from sincerely wanting help and providing proper guidance. But you need to know what that looks like for each individual you lead. These questions can help you become more aware of their challenges and gain a better understanding of how you fit into their success.

  1. How can I better support you?
  2. What are some things you’d like to see more of from me?
  3. What do you need help with this week? Or month?
  4. Are there any roadblocks you foresee with “x”? If so, how can I help remove them?
  5. Would you like for me to make a recommendation?

Alignment and Progress:

You should ask alignment focused questions to understand if clarity is needed, gauge any progress made, and put the teams work activities into perspective with greater company goals. This requires you as their leader to know those key goals and how your team helps achieve them.

  1. What are your major priorities (or tasks) this week? Or month?
  2. What are the next steps for you with “x”?
  3. Are there any areas of about “x” that aren’t clear? If so, which areas?
  4. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your progress with “x”?
  5. How would you describe your role in “x”?

Reflection:

For every people leader, their teams’ performance is a direct reflection of their leadership ability. Probing questions about performance can help identify gaps and assess potential. Reflection is also important for building self-awareness and it enhances learning through cognitive reinforcement. Asking these questions will help you explore and measure performance.

  1. What are some wins you’ve had this month?
  2. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your performance this week? Why?
  3. Looking back at “x”, what are some things you would have done differently?
  4. What have you done or started to do to improve “x”?
  5. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with “x”? Why?

Collaboration:

Managers can get so focused on deliverables they lose appreciation of unique perspectives for accomplishing them. Listening with an open mind and embracing the possibility of breakthrough change can take your team or company to new places. Ask these questions to encourage sharing ideas, foster teamwork, and create innovative moments.

  1. What are your thoughts on how we could approach “x”?
  2. What are some things we could be doing better as a team? Or company?
  3. What are some ways we can share this idea with the team? Or company?
  4. If there was one person outside of our team that could help, who would it be? And how could we involve them?
  5. What is one thing we could do right now to transform the “x”?

Purpose and Interest:

To discover an interest and help your employee realize the purpose of their work, set the stage with these questions. It is important to know what your employee desires and views as being meaningful because that’s where they’ll be most productive.

  1. What motivates you?
  2. In an ideal world, what would you be working on right now?
  3. What is the most meaningful aspect of your job?
  4. What is the most exciting part about the work you do?
  5. What skill would you like to develop that could help us perform better as a team?