Peak Performance: 9 Questions to Bring Out the Best in People

Speaking about the drivers of peak performance, I believe managers can bring out the best in their people by asking good questions. Let me share my nine favorite questions to ask workers and team members about their jobs.

They say it’s unprofessional for manager to ask personal questions… so “they” say. If you’re in charge of people, in my opinion, the most unprofessional and ineffective thing you can do is not ask personal questions.

I’m not talking about things like hobbies or favorite movies, of course. It occurs to me some basic, fundamental questions are never asked by managers. Sometimes it’s good to take the position of newly-arrived person on the job and ask employees what their opinions are:

  1. What do you actually do around here?
  2. Do you actually like your job?
  3. What’s the part you dislike the most? The part you like the most?
  4. What do you do best?
  5. What aren’t you good at?
  6. What strengths or talents do you have that aren’t being used well?
  7. What were your dreams upon graduating? Have those dreams changed?
  8. If you could do something else what would it be?
  9. Who are you?

There are millions of men and women working in organizations who for one reason or another aren’t using their talents. Many are in the wrong jobs. Some are in the right jobs. Many are underwhelmed because they’re not being challenged enough.

Some managers overlook the abilities of people because they don’t have a clue how talented they actually are. They never ask, they never find out.

Sometimes a person gets plugged into the wrong slot, but without an inquiring manager who asks good questions, they never get a chance to connect with their true interests and drives. It’s a lose-lose-lose situation. The manager loses, the person loses, the organizations lose the chance to engage peak performance in employees.

I’ve talked about this before, how important it is for managers to seek the right fit for people and work. Dr. Ned Hallowell writes about bringing out the best in people at work in his book, Shine, Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People.

What do you think about asking questions to bring out the best in your people?

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