Every good manager knows it’s essential to have genuine, meaningful and productive conversations with employees, right?
But most employees say that’s not working out so well.
In fact, The Right Management Global Career Conversation Study reports that 85% of employees say they don’t connect with their bosses at all.
Rather, they say their managers talk at them and fail to listen well because the boss usually is:
- distracted by technology and workload
- not prepared to dig deep, and
- unaware of the positive impact genuine conversations have on people and processes.
(That last item is especially troubling. But it follows when you consider the results of other studies that have shown as few as 1 in 5 new managers say they had the training they needed when they were promoted.)
They Want More ‘Career Conversations’
The great thing about the Right Management study is that your employees actually want more “career conversations.”
To that end, employees say they’d do better if the boss sat down and talked to them in a straightforward and undistracted way more often.
How much better?
- 82% said they’d be more engaged in their work
- 78% said they’d share more ideas, and
- 75% said they’d look for growth opportunities within their company
So clearly, it pays to have those genuine conversations with them.
Good conversations help you align employee motivations and expectations with your organization’s needs.
When managers have more career conversations with employees, productivity, engagement and loyalty all go up.
The Proof Is In The Results
The research can’t be more clear: When managers show genuine interest in their employees’ lives, careers and success, employees are much better at what they do, and the organization is that much more successful.
Dan Rockwell, a leadership coach and author of LeadershipFreak blog, says powerful conversations help managers and employees connect, clarify, move forward and be more accountable.
“Imagine if we made it a goal to help people see accomplishment and success in themselves,” Rockwell says.
20 Questions To Start, End Conversations
You can do that by asking better questions to kick off and wrap up conversations.
10 effective lead questions
Here are 10 questions that can help launch great conversations that lead to employee development and better relationships.
Use any of them in performance reviews, at the coffee pot when you start the day or when you’re following up on work.
- What would make this conversation a success for you today?
- What’s giving you the most energy these days – and what does that say about you?
- What’s been weighing on your mind most these days?
- What are you learning?
- What crossroads are you at today?
- What would you like to get out of this conversation?
- How would you like to move the ball forward?
- Would you like me to listen, coach or advise you today?
- Where do you think you waste energy?
- How have you succeeded since our last conversation?
10 effective landing questions
The way you land or wrap up a conversation can solidify its value to employees and the company.
These 10 questions are useful ways to end important conversations.
- If I saw you moving forward as a result of our conversation, what would I see you doing differently?
- What’s shifting in how you want to approach things now?
- Who might join you as you move forward – someone who you’d want to share your goals with?
- What would you like me to ask you next time?
- What was useful today?
- What seems clearer for you today?
- What do you plan to do between now and our next conversation – and when and how?
- What does success look like as you move forward?
- What worked best for you during our conversation?
- What do you need me to stop doing?
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Robert Gately says
Employees are not stupid and they learn in multiple ways.
Employees learn the culture from…
– pre-employment interviews
– the employee handbook
– what HR says
– what the manager says
– what HR does - what the manager does
– what the manager rewards
– what the manager punishes
– what the executives say
– what the executives do
– what the executives punish
– what the executives reward
1. read the words
2. listen to the words
3. read the face that speaks the words
4. hear the voice that speaks the words
5. watch the behaviors of the person who speaks the words.
If 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 all send the same message, then the employee is fortunate.
If 1 and 2 do not send the same message, Item 2 controls.
If 2 and 3 do not send the same message, then Item 3 controls.
If 3 and 4 do not send the same message, then Item 4 controls.
If 4 and 5 do not send the same message, then Item 5 controls.
If we want to build loyalty then all words, faces, voices, and behaviors need to send the same message.
John Walston says
Good stuff, Bob! You’re absolutely right.
Robert Gately says
the questions seem canned.