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5 key questions that can help improve employee-manager relationships

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Do you believe that above all else, the most important factor behind an employee’s engagement and productivity is their relationship with the direct supervisor? If you do, you’re not alone. Many believe that if people get along with their managers well, they’re likely to work well – it’s often as simple as that!

With this in mind, it’s important for companies to work with their middle managers on improving their communication skills. Developing relationships might seem like just a nebulous, intangible factor, but it’s actually a key driver of organisational success. Every conversation that employees have with their bosses can go a long way toward helping or hurting their job performance.

According to TLNT, the best way for managers to build relationships is by asking good questions. David Lee, founder and principal at HumanNature@Work, told the news source that good managers have a way of showing their passion for their employees’ growth, and this means regularly asking them how things are going and what they could do differently.

“A manager’s ability to bring out the best in their direct reports is hugely affected by whether they engage them in conversations about what they, the manager, can do to help their direct report perform at their best,” Lee asked. “The usefulness of these conversations depends, in large part, upon the quality of questions the manager asks.”

The thinking here is pretty straightforward – when you ask people better questions, you get better answers. This, in turn, gives you valuable insights you can use to lead them better. So – what do you ask? What queries can you use that will be best for improving your company’s employee-manager relationships?

Here are just five suggestions from Lee:

What’s the most helpful thing a manager has done in the past?
If you learn early on what your employees want in a manager, it’s much easier to keep them engaged and motivated. Pick up on others’ past success and apply the wisdom you gain.

What’s the easiest way to kill your enthusiasm?
Every employee has their own pet peeves that derail them from being motivated and productive. The best way to learn what your employees’ distastes are is to ask them.

Is my feedback helpful? Is some of it useless?
Managers put a lot of time and energy into giving feedback to their employees. If some of that advice isn’t getting through or isn’t helping, it’s good to know that. This can save you a lot of trouble.

How do you like to receive appreciation?
You want to reward your employees when they do well, but methods vary. Some people prefer tangible things like perks and bonuses, while others would rather have a pat on the back and a “Well done!” Learn what makes your people tick.

What can I do to best utilise your strengths?
Every employee is unique, and they all have specific skill sets to contribute to the workforce. Are you using each employee to the best of their abilities, or is some of their talent going untapped? Ask and find out.

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