A mentor of mine suggested the growth of an employee is often a good indicator of how well the leader employee relationship is going. When the growth of a team member slows down, it may mean the leader or employee has lost their focus on the importance of personal development. This is important to note, because a team that continuously develops together not only lasts, they do great things together.
This insight got me thinking: what are some other questions that can help diagnose the health of professional relationships between a leader and team member? Here are seven questions that will help you begin to gauge your relationships:
When is the last time you said “Thank You”?
This should be the easiest one to answer. A leader of mine would write a hand written note to every employee in the company on their work anniversary, just to say thank you. A simple “thank you” in a handwritten note, email, text, or in person interaction goes a long way. How far? I still remember it and am writing about it to encourage you to do the same.
Do you “push” your team valuable learning material?
Most likely you are in a leadership role because you are a lifelong learner. You were a sponge earlier in your career and now you continue to consume content that improves you as a person. Are you sending your team blogs, podcasts, videos, books, and ideas that would help them grow?
Do you ever disagree with your team?
The real question is, do you ever disagree and then change your mind or behavior based on the insight from a team member? If not, that’s a problem. It means one of two things – your team members aren’t engaged enough in their job to come up with new ideas and insights OR you aren’t doing a good enough job at listening or asking for their opinion. What’s even more problematic – they are scared to voice their opinion and are just “yes” employees.
When is the last time a team member proactively asked for more responsibility?
If a team member does this, they feel comfortable approaching you and they are confident that you are going to be open to it. This is a true sign of growth for both the leader and the employee.
When is the last time you said “Great Job”?
When you say “great job” to a team member it typically is tied to results. At the end of the day, when team members achieve results they gain confidence. Find time to look for positive results, hopefully coming from out-of-the-box activity and tell them “great job.”
When is the last time you talked with team members about passions they have outside of work?
Not all people are necessary working in a role or in a business that follows the passions in their heart, and that’s okay. Find time to explore and encourage your people to follow their passions. Being able to have contribute to passions outside of work will ultimately make your employees happier and may even get them thinking more creatively.
When is the last time you laughed with your team?
The most underrated, but arguably the most important character for a great team is being able to have fun at what they do. Find the right times to bring the laughter out of your team and foster a joyful environment.
My hope is that these 7 diagnostic questions give you an idea of where your relationship stands with your team. If any of your relationships aren’t where you want them to be, nunc coepi (a Latin phrase meaning “now I begin”). Start today and relentlessly pursue your development as leader.
Getting Leadership Ready Learn more about standing out as a potential leader from our Getting Leadership Ready Program HERE.