You know the phrase “Garbage in, garbage out”? It refers to the idea that if you feed irrelevant material into a computer (or a person), all you’re going to get are irrelevant responses.
Just asking an employee “How’s it going?” is nice. It’s certainly better than ignoring your employee, or figuring you can see for yourself how it’s going, why bother asking. But it’s a benign case of “garbage in, garbage out.” You’re not going to get much out of that question, most of the time.
In the pursuit of making your employees happy, which will in turn improve your business’s productivity and profits, you definitely want to ask your employees for their thoughts, ideas and comments on what’s going on with their work. To get the most benefit from your questions, follow these two simple steps advocated by Brigadier General John Michel:
“Listen to other peopleʼs ideas, no matter how different they may be from your own:
Thereʼs ample evidence that the most imaginative and valuable ideas tend not to come from the top of an organization, but from within an organization. Be open to others opinions; what you hear may make the difference between merely being good and ultimately becoming great.
“Ask great questions: The most effective leaders know they donʼt have all the answers. Instead, they constantly welcome and seek out new knowledge and insist on tapping into the curiosity and imaginations of those around them. Take it from Albert Einstein: “I have no special talent,” he claimed. “I am only passionately curious.” Be inquisitive. Help tap othersʼ hidden genius one wise question and courageous conversation at a time.”