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  • David Grossman

8 Key Questions Employees Want to Know (But Might Not Ask)

As leaders, we spend much of our time and effort setting business goals and developing plans to achieve them. Yet the most important element behind everything is your team. If they don’t understand where they fit in, all of our lofty goals will go nowhere.

The Most Important Element Behind Your Business Goals Is Your Team

Whether employees ask them or not, there are several key questions that are on their minds—I call them The Eight Key Questions.

These questions are a lot like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which states that only after a person has fulfilled certain levels of needs can he or she begin to move to more complex levels of thought, such as self-awareness and understanding of others. In other words, employees’ basic needs—the “me-focused” needs—have to be addressed first before employees can begin to think beyond themselves.

Our job as leaders is to get employees to question number eight as quickly as possible (“How can I help?”).

Once employees feel taken care of, they become more aware of changes or initiatives happening outside their department or function and ask the question, “What’s going on?” This is a transitional question that takes employees from “me” to “we.” The “we-focused” questions that follow are really about the larger organisation.

The ultimate payoff is when employees ask “How can I help?” This is an expression of engagement—a willingness to do more—which also demonstrates a strong emotional connection to the organisation.

It’s important to remember that these are questions that employees think about, and perhaps ask, every day—whether they are new to the organisation or veterans. When change happens, employees immediately go back to the me-focused questions. Our job as leaders is to get them back to question number eight as quickly as possible (“How can I help?”). If we don’t, that’s when business often gets stopped, slowed, or interrupted, as employees work through—or are challenged by—change.

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