As a leader and manager, one of your key responsibilities is to empower and guide your team members towards success. It’s a cornerstone of great leadership. To achieve this, it’s crucial to engage in effective communication that fosters growth and development. By asking the right questions from the outset, you can empower your team members to succeed, build powerful, trusting relationships, and gain valuable insights into your employees’ strengths, areas for development, and aspirations.

In this blog, we’ll explore seven essential questions that managers can ask employees.

1. What are your professional goals?

Many employees will have long-term aspirations. Ask about their professional goals and what they would like to achieve in the next few years (keeping in mind that some people won’t have thought that far ahead, and that is perfectly okay). This not only demonstrates your interest in their development journey but also helps you align their ambitions with the organisation’s objectives. By understanding their aspirations, you can provide the necessary support, resources, and opportunities to help them achieve those goals.

2. How do you like to receive feedback?

Communication is a two-way street, and feedback is an integral part of fostering improvement. Some employees thrive on direct and candid feedback, while others prefer a more nuanced approach. Some like it delivered verbally, others prefer it by email. By asking employees about their preferred feedback style, you can tailor your communication to their needs. This not only enhances your working relationship but also ensures that your feedback is well-received, fosters buy-in and leads to tangible growth.

3. What resources do you need to excel?

Every employee possesses a unique skill set, and it’s your role to ensure they have access to the resources necessary to excel. Ask about any tools, training, or support they believe would enhance their performance. Addressing these needs can empower your employees to acquire new skills, boost their confidence, and contribute more effectively to the team’s success.

4. Are there any challenges holding you back?

Uncover potential roadblocks hindering your employee’s progress. By creating an open environment where they can discuss challenges without fear of consequence, you demonstrate your commitment to their success. Collaboratively brainstorm solutions and strategies to overcome these obstacles. This approach not only builds trust but again showcases your dedication to their professional development.

5. How do you envision your ideal life-work balance?

Acknowledging the importance of life-work balance fosters a healthier, more productive work environment. Inquire about your employees’ ideal balance and explore opportunities for flexible work arrangements or adjustments that align with their needs. Prioritising their well-being can lead to increased job satisfaction, reduced burnout, greater loyalty and engagement, and ultimately, improved performance.

6. What skills do you want to develop?

Continual learning is vital for personal and professional growth. Ask your employees about the skills they’re eager to develop. This could include technical skills related to their current role or people skills like leadership, communication, and coaching. By offering opportunities for skill-building, you empower your team to take charge of their own journey.

7. What can I do to help you be your best?

This is an incredibly powerful question, as it allows the employee to offer any needs or preferences they have in how they like to work and be managed. It also highlights your managerial dedication. Whether it’s mentorship, additional responsibilities, cross-functional collaborations, or work preferences, your willingness to support their journey can significantly impact their motivation, loyalty and performance.

In Summary

In the dynamic world of management, effective leadership extends beyond task delegation and oversight. By engaging in thoughtful conversations and asking the right questions (at the right time!), you can empower your employees to thrive and succeed.

The seven essential questions outlined in this blog provide a framework for fostering growth, building strong, trusting relationships, and aligning individual aspirations with organisational goals. As you implement these questions into your management approach, you’ll not only elevate your team’s performance but also create a positive and empowering work culture that attracts and retains top talent.

If you or your team would benefit from being having better conversations with their team members, or being better managers and leaders, please book in for a free, no obligation Discovery Session, email us at, or call us on +61 412 403 373. We’d love to chat with you!