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3 Simple Questions to Engage Your Team


As the leader of a team, your primary responsibility is to motivate your people to engage.  Motivating others can be a challenge if there is a lack of trust in the relationship, the tasks are not of interest, or the team is overwhelmed with other priorities. It is essential to identify the current needs of your individual employees and your team as well as to identify your needs as the team leader.  Discovering ways to satisfy these different needs provides access to a key source of motivation and engagement.  As needs are recognized and understood within the big picture of what you are trying to achieve as individuals, as a team, or as an organization, you as the leader are able offer the proper support which in turn encourages your people to engage.  

The question becomes how do you identify these different needs? You may think, well I will just ask, “what do you need?”  Some people are able to answer this question easily, however others have no idea what they need until they have had some time to think it over.  It is helpful to prompt your employees thinking so they can get to the origin of what they need in any given moment.  When we work from the origin of our needs, we access our optimal options and choices.  We make decisions, solve problems, and take action from a core level of operation.

There are three simple questions you can ask your employees to prompt their thinking and identify their needs.  They are called the “3 Golden Questions” and most people feel comfortable answering these questions.  

  • “What’s going well?”

  • “What’s challenging?”

  • “How can I support you?”

“What’s going well?” This question begins the conversation on a positive note which engages people right away.  As a leader, this question reveals what your employees are interested in and what motivates them.  This is critical information to take note of so that you can encourage employees to do more of what they enjoy.

“What’s challenging?” Many employees shy away from discussing the difficult parts of their job because it puts them in a vulnerable position.  This question is appealing because it does not necessarily expose weaknesses, but instead offers an opportunity to work through a problem an employee is experiencing.

“How can I support you? Another way of saying, what do you need, this question immediately invites a person to feel trust and support.  Now that your employees have thought through their current landscape with the positives and the difficulties, they are able to recognize more of what they may need.  They are also primed to support you on the needs you may have from them. 

These 3 questions are fantastic to ask at the beginning of an employee 1:1 meeting or at a team meeting. Everyone realizes what is top of mind and recognizes possible priorities.   Although the questions are vague, they open up the conversation lightly to ask more focused and pointed questions later. The 3 Golden Questions encourage people to share important information that engages and motivates themselves and the team to pay attention to and to support the most pressing needs of the day.

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