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August 24, 2021 32 min

A vital function of an innovation leader is to motivate, support, and point their team to good habits. Doing this should be a daily activity. Modeling leadership habits and exhibiting leadership skills inspires employees to become leaders. With this inspiration, employees will become more efficient and innovative. This effect can be created through a list of questions to ask your employees.

Top Questions to Ask Your Employees

The first question on my list is, “What went well last time we met?” Once you ask this question, it is important to be a good listener. Next, offer them your appreciation for their work, and offer your support. Focus on reinforcing the idea that innovation is about the team. The second question on the list is, “What went wrong and what was the lesson you took from it?” When dealing with innovation, we can’t always be in complete control of the situation. Failures are bound to happen. As an innovation leader, you must encourage your employees to share their failures and learnings. Having a culture that embraces experimentation leads to greater innovations. Additionally, the organization can learn from that failure and avoid it altogether in the future. Number three on my list of questions to ask your employees is, “What did you find that could be improved, and what did you do to improve it?” This question is vital because it permits employees to fix things. In doing so, the employees learn some important lessons. Firstly, they learn that everyone in the organization is in it together. Secondly, they learn not to throw their problems on someone else, but to take initiative.

Creating a Motivating, Clear, and Honest Environment

The fourth question is, “how can I create a motivating environment?” In my organization, we give out gift cards to recognize employees’ good efforts and innovation habits. To create a motivating atmosphere, you need to actively listen and be approachable. Additionally, you need to recognize when someone does something well by publicly acknowledging it.  This shows others what habits and actions to strive for in their team and organization. The fifth question I ask is, “What roadblocks are you facing and what can I do to clear them?” As a leader, your job is to sift out things that hinder productivity. Roadblocks can be large or small issues. Leaders should remove barriers so that their teams can stay focused on what’s important.

 Lastly, I ask my employees if there is anything else they want to talk about. This open-ended question allows employees to share other things on their minds. One of my organization’s core values is “candor with respect.” This gives employees the confidence to be transparent and frees them from concern about negative reactions. Protect confidentiality so employees feel they can open up. I’ve had employees present challenges in their personal lives. In some cases, I’ve been able to help. The results have improved employee morale and generated positive change for the organization.


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