Employees and customers may often think otherwise, but it’s not the job of a manager to know everything about his/her organisation or industry.

Most managers have enough on their plates already, without the added pressure of having to make sure that they have every answer to every question that an employee, customer or consultant might throw at them.

In fact, “I don’t know” is an absolutely acceptable answer to many of the questions that come a manager’s way on a daily basis.

Some would even say that the ability to admit lack of knowledge about a subject, or having the courage to tell a customer “I don’t know right now, I’ll get back to you” is a much underdeveloped skill in many managers and supervisors.

But sometimes “I don’t know” just doesn’t cut it.

There are some questions that are just too important for a manager to leave unanswered.  In these cases, “I don’t know” is simply not a plausible or productive response for an effective people manager.

In fact, there are certain questions which I think every manager worth his (or her) salt should have a thoughtful answer to.

  1. What makes each one of your team feel productive and motivated?
  2. How do you provide the right conditions for each of your people to reach their potential?
  3. How well-prepared are each of your employees to achieve their objectives and what do you need to do every day to support them?
  4. Are there conflicts within your team or organisation which are holding productivity back and causing friction between team-members?
  5. What situations demotivate your employees and what do you do to make those situations easier to handle?
  6. Do your people have the information, training and support that they need to do the job that they were employed to do?
  7. Are all your people “in the flow” and firing on all cylinders at work?

These 7 questions may seem trivial for some.

They may seem far too complex to answer for others.

Some managers may deem these questions to be the business of HR…

…other managers might have contemplated the questions but might only be able to provide some of the answers.

Whatever the weather, if you’re a manager or leader aiming to engage, inspire and energise your employees to be the best that they can be, then answering at least some of these questions should be at the centre of your mission.

How do you and your management team find the answers to these questions?

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