How to motivate employees – the secret technique only the great use

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questioning skills

Questions engage your staff.

I decided to chime in on this article I saw this morning…

When I first read the title of this article on a newsletter, I was a little irritated.

The title was, “Asking key questions can help engage employees.” For me, this was a ‘duh’ moment and my mind went like, “Really? We are still discussing such basic stuff in 2014?”

I was about to delete the newsletter but curiosity got the better of me and I read the article.

First off, the title of the article was very different from that in the newsletter. This was the article - 3 Questions That Will Motivate Your Employees

As I read it, I realized that the author was actually pointing out that money wasn’t a good motivator and there are numerous studies that highlight this. Well money is termed an extrinsic motivator.

Far superior to money is coaching. This is what I gather when Laura Garnett advises that you challenge your employees via questions.

Coaching is all about challenging your staff to achieve their objectives. You don’t spoon feed them.

And the tool that a good coach uses is questions.

I teach in my training sessions that a question is like a spanner that’s thrown into moving wheels, in this case the moving gears inside your head – your thoughts.

When a spanner hits these wheels they stop.

The same with questions. Questions make you stop and think. So by challenging your employees with questions you are making them come up with solutions. This is what engages your staff and motivates them.

An American Management Association article also lists asking questions as one of the Ten Traits of Great Leaders

"Ask Great Questions. We've all seen it. You are in a meeting and someone asks a great question that unlocks a situation. Funny thing is, many times, it is the same person who asks all the great questions. If you tend to ask questions, make sure they are really good questions. For a key meeting in the future, think of three good questions to ask."

In fact coaching is one of the skills every leader should have, if they want to be effective.

I don’t wish to play with semantics, so in my dictionary, a leader is every line manager. So every manager had better learn this skill because it’s the job of every manager to develop their staff. Period.

Coaching is more than asking questions. It’s also listening and using a specific model to move an employee from non-achivement to achievement and from achievement to super performance.

If you wish to conduct coaching skills training for your line managers, email me personally at and I'll set up a slot for us to discuss further your particular needs.


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