The Most Valuable Question to Ask Employees


Managers make a common, well-meaning mistake when setting expectations. They end the discussion the wrong way. Fixing this mistake will help you and your employees be more effective.

The mistake: asking a close-ended question at the end of the conversation. Usually it is something like “any questions” or “got it”. The default response of the employee is “no” (any questions) or “yes” (got it).

Why? Employees don’t want you to think they aren’t capable. The phrasing of the question implies that you have communicated everything properly and the employee should understand and not have questions.

I know that isn’t what you mean, but it is what the listener is thinking quite often.

The better way to end is to ask “what questions do you have for me?” This is open-ended and suggests to the listener that you think questions are more than reasonable. She might not have questions, which is OK. You just want to make sure that don’t inadvertently stifle any questions.