12 Questions Managers Should Ask Their Employees in Order to Lead Them Well


One of the best ways to learn how to manage your employees is to ask them questions. If you pose the right questions, you’ll get to know what motivates your employees and what their goals are. You can then use this information to manage them more effectively and help them succeed in their jobs.

To help you figure out which questions to ask, 12 business leaders from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) respond to a question of their own:

“What’s one question every manager should ask their employees in order to get to know them, how to manage them and how to help them succeed?”

These questions can help you be the best manager possible while also unleashing your employees’ potential.

1. What Is the Most Meaningful Aspect of Your Job?

“The one question I always ask my employees is, ‘What is the most meaningful aspect of your job?’ The answers can be surprising. As a manager, it gives you valuable insight into what motivates your employees as well as helps you to ensure that your work priorities are aligned. If the answer doesn’t match your expectations, it gives you the opportunity to course-correct with your team members.” ~ Mark Stallings, Casely, Inc

2. How Are You Feeling About Things?

“A super vague question like ‘How are you feeling about things?’ opens the door to allow your employee to give you their thoughts on whatever topic might be on their mind. Starting a conversation like this puts the direction of the conversation in the employee’s hands. If they are concerned about something, you can address it. If they are happy about something, you can celebrate it with them.” ~ Tony Scherba, Yeti

3. How Could the Workflow Be Improved?

“One thing a manager can do is ask if the employee has any suggestions that could improve the workflow. People have knowledge of tools and processes that will not necessarily appear on a resume. When you ask an open-ended question where your employee gets to share their ideas, you learn more about them. And, you can help them do better by giving them the tools and opportunities they need.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

4. What Roadblocks Are You Facing?

“The question ‘What roadblocks are you facing?’ is a deceptively simple question that reveals a lot about how they think about the employee-manager dynamic, what they consider to be challenging, what their problem-solving style is like, what solutions didn’t work and where you can step in to help them out.” ~ Sean Harper, Kin Insurance

5. What Do You Hope to Achieve in Your Career?

“A key question to ask is, ‘What do you hope to achieve with this next step in your career?’ The amount of people who have never been asked this question is mind-boggling. This simple question has opened up incredible opportunities for team members to expand their responsibilities and open their willingness to receive feedback.” ~ Steven Knight, Mosaic Home Services Ltd.

6. What Are Your Interests and Hobbies?

“I like to ask my team members about their interests and hobbies to show a genuine interest in their lives outside of work. When employees feel they are understood and valued, it can help make them feel more comfortable and confident, thus making them succeed.” ~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

7. What Inspires You?

“Ask your employees, ‘What inspires you?’ This question should open a rather wide-ranging discussion that will let you get to know your employees better, figure out the best management strategy to employ with them and uncover ways they can grow within the company.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

8. What Are Your Aspirations?

“One question every manager should ask their employees in order to get to know them, manage them and help them succeed is ‘What are your aspirations?’ When you help employees reach their personal or professional goals, they will be more motivated to help reach the company goals too.” ~ Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

9. What Can I Do to Help?

“The best question you can ask your employees is simply, ‘What can I do to help?’ This simple, open-ended question encourages employees to talk about their pain points and goals. You can take this information and develop a success plan for each team member.” ~ John Brackett, Smash Balloon LLC

10. What or Who Can You Not Live Without?

“Ask your employees, ‘What’s one thing or who’s one person you can’t live without?’ This will determine where this person’s heart and passion are. This is the perfect way to know what and who matter most to a person. By knowing these things, it’ll be easy to encourage, inspire and motivate them in working harder every day.” ~ Daisy Jing, Banish

11. What Was Your Biggest Win?

“Ask employees what they feel was their biggest win last month or this year. The answers they give you will surprise you, and you’ll get to know them better. What they value as their biggest success might not be the same as your value system. Encourage this difference and watch how they expand. Then, at a later date, ask them again what their biggest win was. This practice becomes motivating and produces results.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

12. How Do You Navigate Conflict?

“This question gets straight to the most challenging part of working with or managing someone. Some employees are averse to conflict, while others walk into conversations head-on. Understanding where each individual stands with conflict helps gauge their comfort level in communication, facing challenges and taking action.” ~ Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.

Image: Depositphotos

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.