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9 Things Conversationally Intelligent Managers Say

How can I contribute to a winning culture that inspires commitment and ownership of the future?

by Nazarena Luzzi Castro — Posted on August 2nd, 2018

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I’m a rookie in the management world. I’m constantly asking myself questions like:

1

How can I avoid getting in my team’s way?

2

How can I come off as supportive, rather than dictating?

3

What can I be doing to bring out the potential in our designers?

4

How can I contribute to a winning culture that inspires commitment and ownership of the future?

As I read more and more about psychology, what makes us all different and frankly, how millennials “work” (including myself), I’ve found that the following nine questions play a critical role in our team’s development.

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1. I’m no expert. What do you think?


I can’t stress how important this statement and question are. Being in the position to lead doesn’t mean that you are better or know more than your employees. After all, they are the experts you heavily rely on to move forward. So, do exactly that. Ask them for their opinion, and encourage them to take initiative. This will show you trust and believe in them.

2. Here’s our next project. How would you tackle this?


This is a prime example of “ask, don’t tell.” Bring your employees into the discussion from the get-go. They are your superstars – asking them for ideas on how to tackle a new project encourages them to take initiative. It won’t be long before a new project arises and they come to you with a plan already in mind.

3. I value your difference in opinion. Can you elaborate on that?


Often times, my employees and I have a different view on a topic or subject matter. Embrace this. What’s more powerful than having four different opinions around the table? This is how we learn and expand our minds.

4. Amazing job on that project. What was your experience with it?


Applaud your employees. Everyone deserves to be acknowledged for a job well done. Asking an employee what their experience was not only boosts their confidence, but can also help identify gaps in the process that can be improved for the future.

5. What have you learned from this challenge?


Just like writing things down helps us better retain information, talking about our challenges and analyzing them helps us understand what we did, why we did it, and what we can do in the future. Going over what we did can give us a clear view of where we can improve.

6. What’s a new skill that you’re eager to develop that you think you can apply to this project? Let’s do it.


If there’s one thing that I am adamant about, it’s learning. In a world that is constantly evolving, striving to learn and better ourselves is critical. Developing new skills will keep your employees curious and engaged. A team that’s constantly growing is a team that leads their industry.

6. What’s a new skill that you’re eager to develop that you think you can apply to this project? Let’s do it.


If there’s one thing that I am adamant about, it’s learning. In a world that is constantly evolving, striving to learn and better ourselves is critical. Developing new skills will keep your employees curious and engaged. A team that’s constantly growing is a team that leads their industry.

7. What obstacles can I remove to make your job easier?


I ask this at least once a month. As new clients get added, new processes are put in place and new team members join our team, things can get hectic. I believe in moving mountains for my team so that they can keep doing what they do best, in the easiest way possible.

8. I’d love for you to manage this project. How do you think you would go about doing that?


People want to grow. As a kid, I used to constantly pester my parents about mowing the lawn. “How old do I have to be to mow the lawn? When can I mow the lawn? Can I mow it NOW?” I saw my entire family mowing the lawn and couldn’t wait to learn how to do it too.

The same applies in our work – your employees also want to grow. Give them more responsibility. Get them out of their comfort zones. By asking them to take the lead on a project and be the mastermind behind it, you are keeping them excited.

9. I love what you did there. Can you teach me how to do that?


I can’t tell you how many things I’ve learned from my employees in the past year. I definitely don’t know everything, but whenever I see something they do that I admire, I ask them to teach it to me. This isn’t showing vulnerability. It shows them that they are just as valuable to the team as you are.

Asking, rather than telling, can go a long way. It challenges your employees, and in turn, helps them grow into their greatness. This attitude is contagious, and before you know it, they will begin to inspire growth and creativity in others.