10 common questions employees ask their managers

Here's how you can use these questions to jumpstart healthy discussions with your employees

10 common questions employees ask their managers

Answering employees' questions and addressing their concerns are some of the duties that employers expect from their managers and supervisors.

Normally, managers would simply give straightforward, no-frills answers to the most common questions that employees ask – but smart managers use these questions to jumpstart healthy discussions that will empower to improve their performance and their relationships with colleagues and customers.

Below, we look at some common questions managers get asked and how they can maximize the opportunity to address concerns and improve the overall workplace experience of both employees and managers.

Read more: Managers help build employees’ trust in CEOs

Why employees should feel open to ask questions at work

As a manager, it is important to create a workplace environment where open communication and trust are evident.

According to research from Salesforce, 86% of executives identify ineffective collaboration and communication as a significant cause of failure in their businesses. Conversely, an environment where everyone feels safe to share opinions increases productivity and engagement.

One big reason why open communication is essential is that it bridges the gap between employees and management. It is easy for managers to be busy with all responsibilities they carry, but it should not be an excuse to make employees feel like they are a bother to their leaders – whether it is done intentionally or not – to the point where employees would rather stay quiet instead of reaching out for help.

 Instead, managers should take the first step in making sure employees can come to them for any concerns and, in doing so, would create a smooth workflow that eliminates and unnecessary errors.

Open communication in the office can help boost employee morale and create engagement between managers and employees. In addition, teamwork gets stronger as more people can share and bounce ideas off each other, encouraging more innovative thinking and collaboration.

It also improves the company structure in the long run. Creating an open and honest communication line between employees, managers, upper management, and stakeholders helps companies improve the efficiency and effectiveness of teams and allows easy flow of updates and information to the entire company.

10 questions employees frequently ask their managers

Listed below are some of the questions managers get asked frequently in the workplace and how they can approach the question to encourage a healthy discussion.

  1. “How am I doing?”

When employees come forward with this question, managers should take this opportunity to share feedback on their performance. It isn’t enough for managers to tell employees they have done a good job – they should also give continuous, meaningful feedback that can help them improve.

As such, managers should regularly observe the performance of employees in their roles and how well they interact with their co-workers. From there, managers have concrete examples of how well employees are doing and can formulate good suggestions and constructive feedback on how employees can improve.

  1. “What are your expectations of me as an employee in this position?”

Having clear goals and expectations helps people focus on what they need to do to achieve specific results. When employees understand what is expected of them in their role, they can remove any ambiguity they have with their manager and are now able to do what work needs to be done.

Managers should take this opportunity to be honest and detailed on what they want employees to produce and what employees can expect from them as their managers. Being able to set clear paths on this helps improve the relationship between the two parties.

  1. “What’s one thing I can do differently?”

Employees who ask this question are demonstrating their willingness to learn and improve. Managers can use this question to address certain issue that could be improved to better fit the company’s culture and goals. For example, a manager can ask the employee who stays quiet in meetings to participate more. Managers can give tips on how to be more active as well as discuss any other concerns the employee might have.

It is also important for managers to not speak in a demeaning or intimidating tone, but show their genuine care for employees and establish a safe and comfortable space to share opinions.

  1. “What’s your preference when it comes to communication?”

When presented with this question, managers should be clear on what communication medium they prefer – whether it is email, phone, chat, or in-person meetings. Managers should also map out how frequent updates should be, whether they would be as frequent as every day, once or twice a week, or even once a month.

It is best to plan out communication that caters to both the managers and employees’ preferred communication setup. This shows the desire of managers to work well with their employees without sacrificing the quality of the work.

  1. “How can we create an ideal workflow?”

Workflow management is important because it optimizes the path for data to flow in the workplace. Good managers know how to handle a workflow system that works for them, their employees, and the organization. It is important to create a peaceful and shared workflow that maximizes everyone’s potentials.

Managers should hold scheduled meetings with employees to discuss how the workflow is doing and if it needs any updates.

  1. “What can I improve on to take me to the next level?”

Employees will depend on their managers for constructive feedback on their work to further develop in their career path. Therefore, managers should be able to provide genuine feedback to employees without making things personal and uncomfortable. 

Managers should also include review sessions based on the feedback or reach specific business milestones. This keeps track of all the performance ratings, improvements, and further actions the employee needs. 

  1. “What should I know about your work and management style?”

Managers should take this opportunity to explain precisely what is expected from their employees and how it impacts the performance of the overall team. When employees are aware of their manager’s expectations, they can visualize how it affects their own roles and what they need to do to complete their tasks. This forms a connection between the two and can discuss what both managers and employees can do to achieve their goals more straightforward and quicker.

  1. “How would you like to receive feedback from me?”

Believe it or not, it is quite common for managers and employees to have disagreements. Managers shouldn’t feel intimidated when asked this question, but instead take the opportunity to discuss what communication method employees can use when they have feedback or concerns. Providing a planned-out method where employees can safely give out constructive feedback can make them feel like their opinions matter and helps boost their trust in their managers.

Read more: 11 questions to ask your HR team

  1. “Can you recommend some networking events and organizations?”

Networking and building relationships are important for people to advance in their careers as it can open opportunities to get promoted, learn new skills, and gain meaningful information. It is in managers' best interests to help guide employees towards those events since their growth benefits the company. Managers should be supportive and trust employees wanting to grow their connections and inform them of any networking events happening within and outside the company.

  1. “What advice would you give me at this point in my career?”

As employees start to trust and be open to great managers, they stay to look up to those managers for advice and guidance. Managers who are asked this question should be sincere and offer solid advice to the employee looking to advance in their field. Offering concrete steps on how employees can move forward can make them feel appreciated by their managers – which can grow their trust and loyalty even more to the manager and the company.

It may seem tedious at first, but once a good rapport is built with your employees through the proper handling of their most common questions, they will start feeling comfortable enough to engage and share ideas in the workplace and stop seeing their boss as an intimidating obstacle.

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