Browse the questions below on Leadership, Mindset, Operations, and Career Development. The Career Development is helpful for anticipating questions of your team members. Answers are brief. They’re not all-encompassing. Some situations will require more detail and nuance. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, submit your question to be included.
How do you identify which incentives will motivate your team?
Motivation is driven by internal factors unique to each person. Develop relationships with each team member and ask what motivates them. Next pay attention to their behavior and how they respond. Then adjust accordingly to continue to nurture their development.
How do you reward employees without increasing the budget?
Ask your team. Having their input will allow you to create rewards that are more meaningful to them. Many times a simple verbal or written acknowledgement means the most. I still have cards from bosses during my career who thanked me for my efforts and contributions.
How do you choose what not to say as a leader?
I consider the short-term and long-term impact. Here are several questions you can use as filters.
- Is it relevant?
- Is it helpful?
- Is it positive?
- Will it move the person and/or team forward?
- Is it a fact or an opinion?
- Am I giving someone the benefit of the doubt or making an assumption?
- Am I responding out of fear or love?
- Is it more appropriate to say nothing and just listen?
I also consider how will my words be received. Sometimes there a better time or place to say something instead of now and here.
How can you effectively lead people who have never liked you when you become their boss?
You don’t need people to like you, but you do need people to respect you. Once you gain their respect there is a greater chance they will like you.
As a leader, your job isn’t to be their best friend, but to help them be successful. If you’re focused on your feelings instead of their growth then it stunts the entire team.
- Read and develop your leadership skills.
- Create relationships with each team member with weekly 1:1 meetings if possible. What are their goals? What do they like? What challenges are they facing? How can you help them?
- Lead by example. Be consistent in your communication and actions. Treat everyone fairly.
Be patient in the process with them and yourself.
A lot of people in management can be extremely demanding. Is it the best way to get the most out of their employees?
No. Most people who are demanding haven’t learned better and are insecure.
They may get results due to fear and intimidation but it isn’t sustainable. Using fear leads to low employee morale, higher turnover, and employees who in turn are short with customers.
If you want results, be clear in your performance expectations, follow up and hold them accountable, have frequent conversations with your team members, and most importantly get to know them. They want to do well, how can you support them while they are on your team?
Is it ever a good idea to decrease your employees’ pay after they made your company a leader in the field?
No. Decreasing their pay implies you no longer value them and their contributions. Should this happen, they will look for a company that will pay them well.
One of the few exceptions is when the company is financially struggling (COVID, 2008 crisis) and a pay decrease keeps team members employed. In this case, it’s important to clearly communicate your plan and why to the team.
As an introvert, how can I improve my ability to meet new people?
Participate in smaller group settings. This can be masterminds, workshops, classes, forums, etc.
It is easy to hide and be a wallflower when there are lots of people. Your chances to connect with someone increase with fewer people.
Be interested in people instead of worrying about what to say. Make a list of 5 open-ended questions to use as conversation starters. This can help you break the ice if you feel anxious or nervous. Or just listen to them talk, be curious, and ask questions to get them to dive deeper.
Wear a smile, say hi, and don’t stare at your phone. You will be more approachable. Even in audio forums (Clubhouse) people can hear a smile in your voice.
What helped me in the past was having a role (greeter, guide) at the event. A role gives you a purpose and reason for approaching people. This helps reduce initial awkwardness because you have a job. Being cheerful and asking open-ended questions will help start the conversation.
It takes practice. Keep putting yourself out there. The more times you join conversations the easier it becomes.
As a manager, how do you inspire employees who are “burned-out” to give more to your company than they may be mentally or emotionally willing to commit?
Don’t press them to give more. A burned-out employee is a situation waiting to happen. A situation that will negatively affect the employee and business. This can include increased errors, miscommunication with employees, disagreements with peers, etc.
Instead, look for ways to recharge them.
- Ask them what they need to recharge.
- When was the last time they took a day off?
- Do they need a mental health day?
- Do they need an extra break or adjusted hours?
- How can you lighten their load temporarily?
- Can they switch to a different task or project?
- Don’t text, email, DM them after work hours.
Employees want to know you care about them. Opening up the conversation allows them to take part in the process and suggest ideas that are more likely to benefit everyone.
Are managers trained or guided on what to do if an employee shares they’re depressed or appears to be depressed?
I never received any training.
If I were in that situation, I would have a private conversation with the employee. Express my concerns and ask how they’re doing without pressing them for details. Depending on their answer, ask if they’re seeking help or need resources. Share professional resources they can use. Then document the conversation and continue to observe their behavior.
You should also consult with HR to see if they have any recommendations or resources. Sometimes there are available resources through a company’s Employee Assistance Program.
It is easy to shy away from the conversation because it can make people uncomfortable. However, as a leader, your attention and care for their well-being can make a big difference.
Can your boss force you to sign something?
No. However, just because you don’t sign something doesn’t mean you’re not aware of the information that was discussed or disclosed.
How do you move to a salaried employee from hourly?
This is a quick overview to put you in a position to be considered for a salaried position.
- Find the salaried position you desire and make note of the required skills and experience needed.
- Next, do what it takes to achieve and excel at those skills.
- Then make sure your boss is aware of your goal and the efforts you’re taking to make yourself a candidate.
- Along the way nurture relationships with your peers and people in the positions you desire. Your ability to work with others has a big impact on your growth.
I have a boss who doesn’t allow any swearing in the office. How do I handle this?
Respect their request. Clients, colleagues, or vendors can find it offensive which then has a negative impact on relationships, the brand, and your career growth.
I make a habit to not swear in professional settings. It’s cheap and degrading when there are so many other words you can use. On occasion I might swear for emphasis, but I limit it.
How can I get on my boss’s good side without seeming like a suck-up?
- Do what is asked of you.
- Be early for work, meetings, projects.
- Be prepared for meetings, take notes.
- Ask questions after you’ve tried to find the answer.
- Take initiative. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. If you’re new, get a feel for the office and interpersonal relationships first. You don’t want to overstep.
- Look for ways to make your boss’s job easier. They are responsible for the team, their own projects, and requests from others. They are in the middle of many demands.
Is it arrogant to think you deserve a better boss than you have?
No, it’s not arrogant. There is no guarantee a new boss will be better. In different relationships, we can encounter the same challenges because of our own shortcomings.
How we respond to people is a reflection of our growth. Relationships highlight our strengths and challenge areas we need to improve.
- What are you learning in this relationship?
- What’s one thing you appreciate about your boss?
- What experience and skills do they bring to the relationship you can learn from?
- What can you contribute to the relationship with skills and experience?
- What would you do differently and why?
- Have you talked to your boss about the things that bother you?
There is a false belief that bosses are unapproachable or set in their ways. In reality, they struggle and want to be appreciated just like you. Do both of you a favor and have a candid conversation. Share the things you appreciate and then ask questions about the things that frustrate you. Asking questions helps you see it through their eyes. Then you can dive deeper into what works best for both of you.
Relationships are only for a period of time. Learning how to make the best of the time together helps everyone grow and be better.
Have you ever had to “manage up”?
Yes. “Managing up” is similar to “managing down”. You are helping others succeed in their roles by removing obstacles, communicating well, and being proactive in your relationship.
“How can I make this person’s job easier?”
What should you do if your boss insists you attend company parties even though it’s not part of your job description or responsibilities?
Company events aren’t part of most people’s job description or responsibilities. Exceptions may be marketing and business development.
Why don’t you want to go? How important is the company and building relationships to you?
I can understand if you don’t want to go because…
- Your job is a place to get a paycheck.
- You’re protective of your personal life and don’t want to give it up to spend time with coworkers.
- It costs you money to attend and you’re not getting paid to be there.
What if by attending your company event, you could build new relationships? Thus building relationships in different departments, opening the door for collaborations, finding a mentor, or a new friend. Many times people are more relaxed outside the office.
By attending a company event, you increase your visibility to management too. What if they saw how you engaged with colleagues and pulled people together?
You don’t have to go, but what could happen if you did? Are there opportunities, connections, or relationships to be developed? Life is how we choose to respond to each moment.
Why do some companies place more value in an employee’s presence (hours) than they do in their output (results)?
Teamwork. Your role is tied to others in the business. What you do impacts your peers and customers if not directly then indirectly.
Your availability to collaborate and assist is crucial to the success of a team. You might be able to get a task completed in 4 hours. But your peers on the project may need your help. If you’ve left for the day, then it can create a delay for customers, vendors, and peers.
I understand the frustration of hours vs output. The answer may be different if you’re a freelancer and only responsible for yourself. However, when others depend on you it impacts flexibility. Sometimes schedules that seem arbitrary to us have a big impact on others.