As a leader in your firm, getting to know the people who work for you and the clients you serve is essential. By asking questions and listening to the answers, you can create a better working environment for everyone involved.
I recently attended the Maxwell International Leadership Conference and had the opportunity to listen to author Don Yeager's keynote. During the Q&A portion of his session, an audience member asked: when Yeager works with clients, what questions does he ask?
I thought his answer was simple yet very powerful.
1. What is important to you?
This question helps you understand what motivates your team members and clients. For some people, it may be making a difference in their community or being able to support their family. Others may be driven by a personal challenge or a desire to be the best at what they do.
A follow-up question might be, what are they doing to focus on what's important to them? When you know what is important to someone, you can better support them in achieving their goals.
2. What inspires you?
This question lets you know the things that make your team members and clients tick. For example, what excites them about coming to work or working with you? Understanding what inspires someone can help you give them the motivation they need when times are tough. It can also help you tap into their creativity so that you can solve problems together more effectively.
Asking this question shows that you care about them and appreciate them.
3. What is something you have a chip on your shoulder about?
We all have something we're passionate about, even if we don't always show it on the outside. This question gives you a chance to understand what gets under your team members' and clients' skin and why.
As a follow-up question, you can ask how you can help navigate the situation. Often, simply talking about an issue is helpful.
It's important to remember that not everyone will see eye-to-eye on everything. Still, you can find common ground and build mutual respect by understanding where someone is coming from.
The discussions these questions bring up might be work-related, or they might be more personal. It's important to figure out the line between personal and professional. Some boundaries are good, but as our work and home lives have become more integrated over the past few years, the line isn't always as black and white as it used to be. Even if the goals and interests brought up by these questions aren't business-related, we can still support them as leaders.
Asking questions is just one way to better get to know your team and clients. By taking the time to understand what makes them tick, you can create a more supportive environment for everyone involved. And when everyone feels supported, everyone wins.
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As the Solutions Manager for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Deanna works to help clients and prospective clients identify their dangers, opportunities and strengths. Once these are identified, she works to develop a personalized game plan for their firm to focus on the area, or areas, they need to improve on most. These areas are critical to a firm’s success and future-readiness; Leadership, Talent, Technology, Process and Growth.