The One Question Every Leader Should Ask Their Team Members - Blog Post


The One Question Every Leader Should Ask Their Team


Several weeks ago, on my weekly podcast, I covered the topic of how to handle a request for a raise. As I reflected on this topic, I realized there was more to be said about different ways to appreciate a job well done.

As conscious leaders, we want to uncover the drive in each person — those motivations beyond money — to inspire people to be their best and to give their best.

Because once people are paid reasonably for their role and money is off the table, there isn’t much a boss can do financially that translates into strong work.

It is more important to know the internal motivations of each person in order to reward their performance appropriately.

The way to get to those key variables is to ask employees the following question: What are the things that you truly value in your life?

In other words, beyond having a good career and receiving a paycheck, what else matters to you?

Too often we skip over this as leaders. I know that I did.

I overlooked this for many years with members of my team until one day it dawned on me that coming to work on time every day was probably not the thing they valued most.

And while I certainly appreciated this behavior, it wasn’t really what I valued in my life either.

I valued time with my friends, the ability to eat healthy food, and getting plenty of sleep each night.

It turns out that once we understand this, we can have deeper conversations that result in having more of an influence.

Maybe we don’t have the monetary resources to bonus everyone this year like we did last year, but it could be possible to create a better work schedule.

Consider the value of this arrangement for the person who wants to pick up their child from daycare at 3pm every day.

Or the person who wants to take a drawing class that is only available on weekday mornings.

Or the person who would just like some time to run a bunch of errands that would otherwise take up a Saturday.

Without knowing these important details about each of our team members, our ability to connect is stunted, our ability to appreciate is limited, and our ability to incentivize is restricted.

When we are in touch with someone’s internal motivations, we can create contexts in which each person can feel truly valued and acknowledged, beyond the monetary benefits they receive for their work.

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