Which of your supervisors holds the best meetings?
I was in a session at HR Florida and the speaker tossed out that question. Most of the audience likely ignored it, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. I honestly didn’t know the answer within my own company, and I’m willing to bet many of you probably feel the same way.
When you’re looking for ways to coach managers and help them be better leaders, you should be asking questions like that. Why? Well, for starters, it helps you to see who your real leaders are. Just because someone is in a position of authority doesn’t necessarily mean they are a leader in the organization. These types of questions help to uncover the hidden aspects of what occurs in a department and how that impacts the organization as a whole.
On another level, it’s your job to provide support to these leaders. How can you do that when you don’t know what’s going on and how they are doing it?
Yes, it’s a tough question to ask yourself, but it’s worth it to understand where the gaps are for your people and to start thinking ahead about ways you can help to close those gaps.
Other questions to consider asking
As you consider asking these questions, keep these thoughts in the back of your mind: do the managers know the answer, and (no matter if they do or not) do they understand the importance of knowing and utilizing this information as a leader? Then put the shoe on the other foot. Do you know these answers for your own people?
- How do your people like to be recognized for their efforts?
- What kinds of activities do you do on an interdepartmental level that add value to an employee’s day?
- What do your employees enjoy about working here?
- Who holds the best meetings? What about them is enjoyable or appealing?
- Do you let your people have a say in hiring decisions? Why or why not?
- What sort of feedback do employees prefer to receive?
- Do employees have a way to offer praise in a public or private setting for their peers? Is it encouraged?
- Are employees aware of upward feedback methods? Do they utilize them?
And that’s just off the top of my head. There are others, and I’m sure you have some to share. What questions can you ask to help ensure that supervisors know the necessary information about their staff to make informed decisions about leadership?