As we work each day, our time is mostly spent checking boxes on our to-do list and making further progress on the project at hand. Team meetings are called for updates and making sure we are all on track. Running a smooth operation to complete deadlines or fulfill the productivity goal is a constant spinning wheel.
Aside from the passing phrases “How’s your day going?” or “Ready for the weekend?” how often do we take a step aside and peer deeper into our work community? Asking more thought provoking questions, both as a team and individually, can assure better support and service for our employees.
This is time well spent to build a more fulfilling and productive company culture. And as they say, “timing is everything.” Some inquiries can be asked around the team table, and some should be saved for a one-on-one conversation. Either way, colleagues that feel their opinion matters are more apt to be loyal to the workplace, and give their best creative work.
So, let’s explore some questions that may bring to light our best practices, and of course some ways of improvement.
Discussing the best and least liked project, and why, can be a gate to know the strengths and weaknesses as a team. Who works best together and who takes the initiative to start? As a leader, what can be changed or what actions will help in the next endeavor can be helpful to note.
A new project can bring questions like “What is our best course of action to start?” or “Let’s brainstorm some new ideas.” These conversation starters may spark more creativity and lead roles among your co-workers.
Although this is vulnerable territory, ask how you may lead better, or how they would do things differently. Get honest and respectful feedback on how they see things from their perspective. Changing views from leader to team member can show places for improvement, and also light up those ideas that are working… and that is always a welcome sight.
Casual chat about life and family, and even hobbies outside of the office walls can be a sure way to get to know your employees. Ask about their work/life balance and offer support, if possible, to keep their workload something that is fulfilling and not burdensome. Knowing that the leadership understands you as a person is appreciated, no matter where you are in the rank.
Let them know that their work matters, and ask, “Do you feel your skills are being used here?” or “How do you feel about your position?” You may learn of more ways they can contribute to the team, and that would be a great win/win. Discussing professional goals and how the company may assist with achieving those can also be of value, to keep their talent evolving.
Spending quality time with our employees can give us such significant insight into our business. These conversations can reveal ways we are succeeding, but also present areas to improve. Either way, the time is worth it… to know each other better and present our company as a thriving community.