Category Performance Management

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Team Members Every Month

Being a leader is about understanding what is going on around you.

In the military, it is called ‘Situational Awareness,’ Often, the people with the most pertinent information about the situation are those working for you.

Questions are powerful tools, and knowing how to wield them precisely is key to becoming a better leader.

How to ask?

If it’s about asking the questions, how do you ask the right questions in the right way?

  1. Ask these questions like you care & want to know the answers. You’re not reading from a script; ask with authenticity.
  2. You asked, so be prepared to hear answers that you may not like, but time to listen — openly and honestly.
  3. The answer you need may not happen the first time you try. But if you ask sincerely and humbly, you will build trust & confidence. So ask regularly, and the quality of the information you gather will improve.

Read about the six things you need to communicate

What to ask?

1. What is your biggest accomplishment this month?


  • This question provides a sense of forward motion and progress.
  • When workers relate positive information, it gives them a sense of personal accomplishment.
  • Answers give you both oversight and performance improvement potential.
  • You have a measure if people contribute in the ways you need them to.

2. What’s your biggest challenge right now?


  • You can begin to understand where the worker is struggling.
  • You can learn about pinch points in an employee’s process, work, or company culture.
  • It puts your conversation into problem-solving mode because when you know where your team member is struggling, you can do something about it.

Read how not to Eff Up talking to your people.

3. What things should we do differently, or what processes can we improve?


  • People understand that things can be done differently, so being open to feedback from ‘below’ can be invaluable.
  • When team members recognize that they can provide value beyond their job description, you can harness this power to improve the company.
  • You may not always act on every suggestion, but you’re going to discover some things that genuinely need to change.

4. What resources would be helpful to you right now?


  • By using the word “resources,” you’re opening the door beyond money.
  • What you might think employees need is often different from what they want.
  • Don’t assume the solution is more people or money, trust the people working on the project to understand what will solve the issue.

Read about how to listen.

5. Is there anything I can help you with?


  • It lets your employees know you’re a human and care about their success and well-being.
  • It allows you to understand any personal factors that may influence their work.
  • It demonstrates you’re a real human being.
  • You improve your working relationship with them by showing sincere interest in their life and improvement.

Your Workers Don’t Give A Rat’s Patootie About Your Precious Mission Statement – 4 Questions To Give People Something To Believe In

Boards and executive teams everywhere spend an unbelievable amount of time and energy on developing their company’s mission statement.

To be fair, this is important work as it helps to focus the organization but, in my experience, high-level mission statements do nothing to motivate frontline staff.

In fact, the Gallup organization found that only 20% of U.S. workers feel proud of or engaged by their company’s mission statement.

Most companies promote their mission by putting up posters, give out mouse pads and coffee cups. If that doesn’t work, they push managers to explain their precious mission differently so that it will finally sink in. They believe that once those darn employees finally get it life will be all sunshine & roses and profits will climb.

Sorry to tell you that this is not going to happen.

Why? Leaders think big & are future-focused, and workers are focused on very intimate, personal and local issues.

read about reaching leadership nirvana

Focus locally

When I ask workers what matters to them, they say what matters most is their ability to support their families, have good-paying jobs and hope to have a better life for their kids — and do what they can for their community.


When you have invested so much energy into that lofty mission statement, the idea of a local mission may not make sense. Because a corporate mission is supposed to give employees something big and important to believe in and work for: but employees connect to what they do every day; their team and the community in which they work.

I could list similar examples from around the world. But when I was a leader of a large NGO we had two mission statements, the official one – World Peace – and the local one – Every person who needs help will get it – and that was the one that inspires passion.

You must understand that the mission that matters most to your workers is the local one.

You’ll find it’s almost always about keeping the doors open and the community healthy.

My recommendation is to ask your workers what’s important to them:

  • What does it take to operate in their location?
  • What does the plant mean to the local community?
  • What would be lost if it went away?
  • Ask your workers to imagine the company closing; what would they do to keep the doors open and deliver on their mission?

Talk about the questions and the answers on the shop or office floor, and invite every worker to respond. Listen carefully to what they say, and craft their local missions.

read more about how to talk to your people

Then start doing those things — now before they don’t give a rat’s patootie about anything.