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You ask employees questions during important meetings and when you’re conducting performance reviews. But what about on a random Tuesday?

By regularly asking questions – beyond just at evaluations and meetings – you’re able to gain more insight into what’s going on with employees. As a result, you can forge stronger ties with them and nip problems in the bud before they escalate.

So, what kinds of questions should you be asking?

Here’s a look at 5:

What’s going on with you this week? What was your biggest highlight?

When you’re managing a team, it’s hard to know every detail that’s going on with each employee. But asking these questions gives you an opportunity to find out about any success stories or important progress. It also gives your employees the opportunity to celebrate their achievements and gain a sense of personal accomplishment. Finally, it’s a way for you to measure and track their performance to ensure they’re getting done what you need them to.

What about challenges? Are you spinning your wheels on any projects?

Asking this question will offer insight into areas where an employee is struggling. They might be hesitant to come to you, but more forthcoming when you specifically ask. Once you know about any issues they’re facing, you can get into problem solving mode and work with your employee to overcome challenges and improve productivity.

Any ideas about how we can improve X product/process/project?

Oftentimes, your people are your richest source of inspiration and innovation. After all, they’re the ones in the trenches each day, talking with customers and fielding complaints. Asking this question opens the door for employees to offer input and ideas on how to make improvements, whether on a product, process, or individual project.

How are things going with X?

You’re busy. But you also want your employees to know you’re available for them. So, whether it’s a personal or professional struggle you’re inquiring about, asking this question shows your concern for them. Not only that, but in the process, you might come to understand any issues outside of work that could be impacting their performance.

What can the business do to help you be more successful?

It might be training and education. Or it could be an updated computer that doesn’t crash every 10 minutes. Whatever the case, asking this question will help you help employees become more engaged and productive.

Being a manager is certainly hard work. But when you’re regularly talking to employees and asking questions like the ones above, you can build a stronger team – and a better relationship with each individual on it.

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