Engaging Voices - Phil Gerbyshak

To kick off the Engaging Voices series for the month of February, here is blogger Phil Gerbyshak and his article "Ask More Questions to Engage Others." Phil writes management and employee engagement articles at Slacker Manager. His upcoming book The Help Desk Manager's Crash Course Guide is due out in April of 2009.

Ask More Questions to Engage Others' Voices by Phil Gerbyshak

One of the best ways to get employee engagement is to listen to others' voices, for you are not alone in your quest to engage employees.

How do you listen to others' voices?

Start by asking yourself "What will I do with the feedback I get from these other voices?" If you're not willing to listen and take action on the trends you hear from those you ask questions of, don't ask.

Assuming you will be open to any and all feedback you receive, ask yourself one more question: "What's in it for the people I'm going to ask these questions?" You must frame your questions to folks based on what's in it for the other person, or they won't invest their time in giving you feedback.

The number one reason most folks will share their feedback with you is because they want to help you improve. Another reason might be because they want their job to be easier, or more meaningful, or they just want to vent. Understanding others' motivations will be vital to sifting through their answers.

Whose voices should you listen to?

Your direct reports
Your manager
Your manager's manager

7 questions to improve engagement

What could I do to work together more effectively with you?
What is your favorite part of your job?
What is your least favorite part of your job?
What is your number 1 goal for this year?
What is your manager's number 1 goal for this year?
What is 1 thing I need to know about working with you?
What is one question you wish I had asked (and what's the answer to that question)?

Keep in mind not everyone can answer every question, so you may need to change up the questions based on your audience.

The more questions you ask, the more information you have to work from. Many of the answers will be things you can work on to create an employee engagement action plan for you and your team.

WARNING: If you don't do anything with this information, folks will NOT be willing to help you next time. Set the expectation that you will be acting on this information in the next month, and then report back and let them know what you were able to change and any future plans you have.

Repeat this process at least once a year. You'll be amazed at how much employee engagement improves when you ask questions and take action based on the answers to those questions. More questions = more results.

[Copyright 2009 by Phil Gerbyshak. All Rights Reserved]

Posted by Terrence Seamon, February 2, 2009


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