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Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
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6 Questions for Talking with Employees

Some supervisors, even as experienced managers, have trouble talking with their employees, especially during employee performance appraisal time.

To make these conversations, use questions to elicit information and encourage dialogue.

  1. What projects are your favorites?
  2. What aspects of this work do you like best?
  3. What part of this task do you find the easiest to do?
  4. What part of this is challenging for you?
  5. Are there resources you need to get this finished?
  6. Is there part of this project we need to take off your plate to make this deadline?

Then listen for the answers. Listen for ways to improve work alignment, resource allocation, and time-management.


  1. Fran White

    I love these questions and they could lead to some great conversation with your employees

  2. Sharon O'Day

    I think the key is turning the occasion into something the employees look forward to, an open and meaningful dialog that has a decided upside. And the open-ended questions you listed would certainly start that dialog!

  3. Barbara

    Right on! I have enjoyed reading your post, Mary, and wish for many many employers to study it! These questions show respect for the employees, the open questions show an interest in them and will engage them in a friendly discussion, revealing their likes, dislikes and a possible need for further support.

    I remember other appraisal times when the closed questions would make this impossible. What a shame and waste of time to forego this opportunity.


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