Strong managerial communication is about encouraging participation and tapping employees’ brainpower, not putting up barriers to their creativity. Don’t tell employees how or what to think. Ask them what they think instead. Here are some quick tips to question them the right way:
- Focus on the questioner and the question. Avoid thinking about what you want to say next.
- Use open-ended questions. Ask questions that require more than a “Yes” or “No” response. Instead of asking, “Do you feel that this assignment is doable in that time frame?” ask, “What do we need to do to finish this assignment within that time frame?”
- Ask one question at a time. Allow the other person to speak before you ask another question.
- Don’t rush the other person. Give the employee time to reflect on your questions. If time allows, say: “I’ve given you some food for thought. Let’s regroup tomorrow afternoon and toss the idea around some more.”
Tip for success: Always thank employees sincerely for their answers to your questions. Knowing that you appreciate their input, they will be more likely to welcome—and respond—to your questions in the future.