There is a secret that can help improve employee performance. Sometimes you simply need to ask some questions.
When I was young I measured the workday by biding my time until lunch, enjoying my lunch, and then biding my time until I could clock out and go home.
Mornings drug on but afternoons were even worse. Interestingly I do remember those days that flew by and thinking, I love when days go by fast. I just didn’t understand the difference.
This is not an uncommon reality for many workers.
Countless employees go to work like robots. Clock in, do tasks, go to lunch, do tasks, and then clock out to go home at the end of the day.
This is unfortunate because those of us who manage other people have a responsibility to nurture, develop, and maximize their potential.
So how do you do that?
However, managers who have happy and productive employees have a secret.
The secret is to find out what makes them tick.
You can do this by asking your employees questions to find out what they are good at and what they enjoy doing.
Gallop workplace has identified five questions every manager should ask employees to find these answers.
1. What do you know you can do well but haven’t done yet?
We all remember being in a job and yearning to be able to try a new or challenging task.
Help employees reveal these interests and you will be on your way to maximizing their potential.
For instance, early in my career I would sit in meetings and observe the facilitator and secretly wish I could be up there facilitating the meeting.
I had a wise manager who helped me figure this out and before I knew it I was up there with my flip-chart and markers!
2. What sorts of activities do you finish and think, “I can’t wait to do that again”?
I had a boss tell me once that if I wasn’t having fun at work I was in the wrong job.
It took me a while to get that concept but once I did I actively sought out responsibilities that I enjoyed doing.
It doesn’t matter if an employee is in an entry-level position or climbing the ladder, there are things that everyone enjoys doing. Try to figure it out!
3. What have you done well that you didn’t need someone to explain how to do?
We all have natural gifts and tapping into that talent is part of the secret. Identify those natural abilities in employees, allow them to use those gifts, and watch them excel.
For instance, if an employee is a gifted communicator, give them opportunities to speak, teach, or help establish communication guidelines.
4. What have other people told you you’re great at doing?
Most of us do some things really well, but don’t realize how well, unless someone points it out to us. Part of our responsibility in managing employees, is helping them learn and grow.
Point out what workers do well and build off of those strengths.
Incorporate similar feedback into your work culture so that coworkers share similar feedback with each other.
Communicating a job well done gives employees confidence and a desire to improve and do more.
5. What activities are you doing when you are unaware of time passing?
No one likes to watch the clock while at work. When time goes by quickly it means that an employee is absorbed in what they are working on.
If you can say “where did the day go” it generally means time went by quickly. Try to identify those tasks to help employees enjoy what they are doing and get the added benefit of days passing by quickly.
What is the secret?
Loving what you do and having enough to do to keep you busy.
Ask your employees these five questions, find ways to use their secret gifts and desires and you will find that you unleashed some amazingly productive employees!