7 questions successful managers need to ask and answer in order to engage and mobilize their employees

Are your employees engaging on your messages or are your messages falling on deaf ears 5

In my coaching practice, I found that one of the most common coaching concerns from Managers is “How can I get my staff to move towards excellence and improve?

Engaging and mobilizing employees can sometimes feel like a daunting task. I have one manager coming to me after some pep talks with his employees, saying : “ I don’t get it that they don’t get it? Don’t they understand that if they don’t get better at being more responsible, giving more priority in developing their own staffs and etc, there will be consequences!”

Instead of waiting for annual performance reviews, managers could have regular and informal feedback sessions on how each employee is doing, and what is expected of them.

Here are 7 simple questions that every manager can answer and ask with their employees during these conversations:

Question 1 : What do I expect from you?

Many employees are frustrated because they feel like they have to read their manager’s mind. Being specific and clear and precise in requests and expectations is a good practice especially during the initial parts of a relationship or for a new responsibility/task. Managers often either assume that their employees already know all those details or give excuses for not having enough time to spell out the details.

Question 2 : What are you doing well?

People want to know what they are doing well. This is a question that Managers can answer and Employees can attempt to ask themselves. We all have blind spots and even as a manager, you can find out more about your employees’ perspectives of their strengths. You will be surprise that this can be a great question to enlighten each other.

Question 3 : What can you be doing better?

If I don’t know what I am doing wrong or my limitations, I can’t change or improve. As an employee, I want to know what specific areas I need to work on, and where the gaps are if I worked on will help me be more effective employee. This is also another question for the Managers to answer and Employees to ask themselves, in order to explore possible areas for development.

Question 4 : What do I want you to do better?

Together with the employee, the managers need to look at which area to improve is critical or essential. As a manager, it is important to prioritize and ensure that these goals for development are also aligned with the organization’s or department’s or team’s business goals.

Question 5 : What will happen if you improve?

Question 6 : What will happen if you don’t improve?

Questions 5 and 6 are great questions for the employees. Every action or no action will have its consequences (positive and negative). Consequences seldom just affect only the employees themselves, most often it will extend to the people around them, people they worked with (i.e customers, colleagues, bosses, subordinates, etc), the team, the department, and the organization as a whole.

Question 7 : How can I help you?

While all these questions are important, the last question is especially important. It shows the employees that the manager cares and wanted to support their growth.


When employees are more engaged, it often helps business to reduce staff turnover, improve productivity and efficiency, retain customers, and make more profits. Most importantly, engaged employees are happier and driven, both at work and in their lives.

For more information about engaging and mobilizing employees, please contact Samuel at sam@beacon-search.com


Samuel, the Managing Director and Founder of BEACON, is a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach, NewField coach and Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with International Coach Federation (ICF).

As an Executive Coach, he helps companies to develop their high potential and to continuously develop current executives’ leadership skills so as to ensure company continued success and profitability. He support new managers and senior executives become effective leaders.