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Answering questions as a manager

A leader or manager can help to sharpen the vision and get employees on board with goals by providing clear and accurate answers to specific questions of those that they manage. Answering questions of employees will help foster commitment and a feeling of community. I may seem like a simple matter, but it is going to make a real difference.

First, answer the question: What do I do? People need to be given real responsibilities and a clear definition of the involvement that is expected of them, and how it will benefit the entire effort. They need to feel like the responsibilities given are important, and they need to understand how to accomplish the various goals and tasks. Proper training, manuals and instructions must be given to define the role of each individual. These responsibilities must them be reinforced with each interaction.

Second, answer the question: How will my performance be measured? This is how you set expectations for not only what needs to be done but how that will be monitored, evaluated, and valued. Every individual needs to know what is expected of them, and how their contributions matter, and are measured. You do this through progress reports, advancements, interviews and evaluations, etc.

Third, answer the question: What support will I be given? Employees need to know what resources they will have available to them, in terms of time, equipment, other employees, etc. Help them know that you re a resource, and what else are available to them.

Fourth, answer the question: What is in it for me? Employees need to be motivated, sometimes beyond their regular paycheck. Their involvement in a project needs to be worthy of their time, so it is important for them to feel as though their intrinsic values in each assignment. Figure out what they are getting out of it, and make sure they know this, and feel excited about the what is in it for them part. Get specific. Let them know they are helping people, earning greater profits for the company which will translate into larger bonuses, more raises, promotions, or whatever it is that they get out of it.

Fifth, answer the question: What happens if I get stuck? Every employee worries about what to do if they are in a jam, need help, or are unsuccessful at reaching their goals. Often the unknown is debilitating to them. Instead of letting them suffer the unknown help them see clear steps for what to do if they hit a bump. Remind them that failure is not existent, it is just an opportunity to learn more, and change their tactics in order to achieve success.

Answering these five questions helps to create meaning for employees, and will help get everyone on the same page, going after the same vision, and feeling emotionally supported as they do so. If the cost to achieve a goal is worth the goal, then business managers should pursue it.

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