Asking each other the right questions each month can help create a Green Zone tribe – which is more optimistic, resourceful and energetic.
This practice reinforces what is important and lets everyone know that progress is better than perfection.
There has never been a more important time for a tribe to be more agile and these questions – and the resulting actions – can encourage this.
We also need to reflect on the team environment that allows great feedback and engagement to be the norm.
You may recall in a previous article we discussed the key to Google’s best teams was “psychological safety”.
Psychological safety is when team members contribute approximately equally, encourage each other to take risks, and support each other when things go wrong.
The most valuable thing you can do as a leader is to remove any fear that people have of speaking up.
Traditionally, companies use the dreaded annual employee survey to collect feedback, but this is usually only done once a year, and it often takes a long time to get meaningful insights.
Regularly asking questions of your team will help everyone keep their finger on the pulse. These are the 3 questions.
1. “What is one thing you have done this month that you are proud of?”
This question is good for 2 reasons:
- It helps everyone understand what the team member considers important, and
- It gives everyone a chance to show off their work
Too often we fail to recognize small steps of progress and this question allows this to become a habit.
Allowing employees to celebrate “small wins” will improve motivation going forward.
2. What is your biggest challenge right now?
Everyone faces challenges at work.
Leaders need to act like coaches and be there to guide their employees through whatever they’re going through.
It is also an opportunity for other team members to provide suggestions and help.
Consistently asking this question will help employees grow and become better at what they do.
Showing employees that you are there to help them with their challenges shows that you care.
3. What can we do to help you be more successful?
Personal growth is by far the biggest driver of employee engagement.
Asking team members every month how you can make them better – is a great way to make sure everyone is always improving and becoming more productive.
Every good manager knows it’s the people under them that are responsible for the company’s success.
By shifting the focus to how the company can make employees more successful, the team will become productive.
So, what if people don’t volunteer suggestions?
Asking employees questions frequently is easier said than done; there is an art and science to it. Body language, tone of voice, even the words you use can all affect the responses you get.
Don’t be afraid to ask the same questions month after month. Sometimes, employees aren’t ready to share, or maybe they don’t have anything to say yet.
But as your employees are constantly reminded of these questions, they start to think about these things more and more each day.
Asking questions and acting on the answers makes everyone feel involved and encourages people to go outside their comfort zone.
It is important to remember that how we ask the questions and respond to the answers will ultimately determine the success of this ritual.
The questions to ask each month are:
- What is one thing you have done this month that you are proud of?
- What is your biggest challenge right now?
- What can we do to help you be more successful?
May you individually and collectively Go for the Green Zone every day.