What should managers regularly ask team members? - SmartBrief

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What should managers regularly ask team members?

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The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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What is one question remote managers should be asking their team members every week or month to gauge their level of engagement?

1. Do you need help with anything?

Managing a team where members are highly determined and conscientious is a wonderful thing. There are times, however, when conscientious can become an issue. A team member might be afraid to admit that he/she has a problem he can’t figure out by himself. This leads to delayed deadlines and unnecessary stress. Avoid this by asking, “Is there anything at all you need help with this week?” – Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media

2. What do you think?

If your team members know that they are going to be put on the spot to have to provide their own opinions, they will be more engaged and thoughtful with their answers. This is also a way to check if they are thinking critically about the company. If they are merely parroting back things that you said, then there could be an issue. – Adam Stillman, SparkReel

3. What’s the best thing that happened to you this week?

This does a couple of things: It helps me gauge where their heads are at and puts the conversation in an appreciative light. If they hesitate, they might have a negative perspective that could hurt them in the long run. Although things might be tough, stopping and appreciating the good helps us recalibrate our mindset and reconnect with each other as human beings. – Chris Cancialosi, GothamCulture

4. Are you happy?

This question leads to many others if the answer is no. You can find out if someone is feeling left out from the team, if they are not excited about their work, or if something outside of the company is making life difficult. If you don’t have the relationship where you feel that your employees would tell you if they were unhappy, then that is a bigger issue and you need to attack that first. – Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.

5. Do you have everything you need to do your job?

Many entrepreneurs and companies try virtual assistance with certain expectations, but they can’t meet every goal, so it’s good to keep track of what can be done and how to optimize the procedures. – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

6. What obstacles can I remove?

Often, it is tough to identify problems an employee has without witnessing firsthand what’s going wrong. To help employees work better when you’re remote, make sure you ask about roadblocks or opportunities to make their lives a lot easier, whether it be software automation, hiring help, or developing more streamlined workflows. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

7. How am I doing?

The late New York City Mayor Ed Koch greeted every constituent he met with, “How’m I doing?” While you certainly shouldn’t change your leadership based on every piece of feedback, it’s smart to take your direct reports’ temperatures on a frequent basis. It’s especially important with remote workers whose attitude can be harder to gauge from a distance. (P.S. New York accent optional.) – Lindsey Pollak, best-selling author, millennial workplace expert, LindseyPollak.com

8. What’s been frustrating you lately?

Frustration is irritation from an inability to achieve a goal. So, while high engagement leads to tackling big problems and setting big goals, an unfortunate side effect is that employees experience frustration. Learn and address the source of their frustration. If they deny having any, it’s either evidence of disengagement or a sign that you have to do more to earn their trust and complete honesty. – Manpreet Singh, talklocal

9. What is your biggest challenge?

Working with remote team members is tough, but you always want to know what they are struggling with so you can offer help. My team members and I discuss our greatest challenge once per month, have a brainstorming session on possible solutions and then offer to help take action steps on it. Not only does this help us stay current with each other, it also helps us solve and fix issues as a team. — Vanessa Van Edwards, Science of People

10. Did your job allow you to play to your strengths today?

This question, which obviously requires a “why or why not?” follow up, gets to the heart of how employees feel about their jobs and whether they are accomplishing something that’s meaningful and motivating for them. Since you aren’t in a position to read negative body language, you’ll want to be on the lookout for a pattern of “nos” and take steps to guide the employee in the right direction. – Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work

11. What are your priorities?

When you can’t see what a person is working on every day, it’s easy for folks to get off track. I regularly check in with my team so they can fill me in on their top priorities. We then discuss how these factor into the priorities for the company overall. This ensures that team members are focusing their time and energy appropriately, and can see how their work fits in with the big picture. – David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services