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Focus on these things to succeed in Senior Manager

Ask Great Questions to Develop Employees


By Jayne Jenkins BSc. CEO Churchill Leadership Group

So many leaders in coaching conversations fall in to the bad habit of "telling" and suggesting actions for their employees. This is such a natural temptation due to our desire to help and because we have often been very successful in that area and wish to share what worked.


An employee enters your office with a problem and in turn you offer a solution. Why not? Isn’t that what they are paid to do, solve problems? And fast?


However, what worked for you is unlikely to work or your employee. We all are unique with different Strengths and we think differently. We all learn more by figuring things out for ourselves.?So for long-­-term success great leaders ask the right questions to help an employee figure out the best solution. This way a leader creates greater ownership of the solution by the employee, more likely leading to success.


Understanding the value of questions and how to ask the right ones will help you develop others, a critical skill of a great leader. Learn to do this well and you will see increased innovation, team growth and greater ability to solve problems across the organization.


To improve your questioning skills, here are 3 tips that have worked for other executives:

  • Ask your employee to open their mind to the potential complexity of the subject at hand. Help them think critically. Encourage the employee to see the situation from all perspectives (yours, the employees, the customers etc.)
  • Don’t ask leading questions as it can be manipulative and only lead others to see the situation the way you do. Give them space and time to figure out the solution for them. Ask open-­-ended and diverse questions.
  • Ask empowering questions because they can build confidence and move people to positive action.


Remember -­- if you are going to ask questions be sure to genuinely listen to the answers an employee shares. Good listening builds trust in your relationship. If your employee has a good experience coming to you for help then they are likely to trust you and come again when needed. In addition, this approach will help employees feel empowered, building a competitive edge for your organization. They may even come up with better solutions than you do!


Written by Jayne Jenkins BSc.,
Senior Management Expert for ManagingAmericans.com & CEO Churchill Leadership Group
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