Those that have successfully made the transition from manager to leader have found the importance of continuously asking questions. Constantly receiving feedback from front line workers enables aleader to understand what is going right and where improvement is needed. At the same time, the leader is showing interest in the front line workers through these questions. However asking questions can become harmful if two key steps do not follow them.
First, it is important that the leader acts on what was learned from the questions. If a front line employee offers information about a problem they expect to have the issue addressed. Effective leaders have been able to eliminate unnecessary paperwork, streamline operations, improve customer responsiveness, and many other positive results. The employees that make these suggestions translate these changes as an indicator of their value to the organization.
Second, the employee needs to be provided with recognition once the leader has implemented a solution to the employee's suggestion or complaint. Although traditional leaders believe this has to be monetary, the reality is that employees are very happy with verbal recognition. In the event a solution was not possible, the employee should still be acknowledged and provided with details about why the policy or procedure change, or the suggestion could not be enacted.
Here are some sample questions to ask in your daily contact with your employees. Notice the questions take a positive aspect to focus the employees on what is going right. An effective leader practicing active listening skills will listen to the hidden message and then probe for underlying frustrations from a positive point of view.
1. How are we providing the support you need to accomplish your work?
2. What are you finding most rewarding about your position?
3. What is your favorite part of your work?
4. Do you have any ideas to improve processes or procedures?
5. What customer interaction was most pleasurable today?
6. What is the most productive use of your time?
7. Do you have any ideas of how our organization might save money or time?
9. What is the silliest thing we have asked you to do?
Remember: Ask the questions, listen to the answers, enact solutions where possible, and value the employee with verbal acknowledgement of results.
This is just one of the best practices of today's most effective leaders. Max Impact offers a seminar for leadership team reviewing this and other great ideas and tips with an emphasis on things participants can put into immediate action. For more information call 248-802-6138 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rick Weaver is an accomplished business executive with a wealth of experience in retail, market analysis, supply chain enhancement, project management, team building, and process improvement. Building on a strong retail background, Rick moved to full supply-chain involvement, working with hundreds of companies to improve sales, processes, and bottom-line results.
As Rick's interaction in varied industries expanded, he became troubled as he increasingly noticed that people and companies had untapped or unfocused talent.
Coupled with Rick's passion for training and development, popular style of interactive workshops and seminars, and strong desire for continuous improvement, he founded Max Impact Corporation to be singularly focused on helping individuals and organizations achieve high performance.
Rick is a popular speaker at seminars, workshops, and conferences. He has spoken in 43 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and in Canada and Puerto Rico. He is available to speak at groups of all sizes.