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Painless Performance Conversations: A Practical Approach to Critical Day-to-Day Workplace Discussions by Marnie E. Green

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7

Inquire with Purpose

Using Curiosity to Expand Possibilities

The effect that questioning has on the mind can be likened to the stimulus given to a fire by poking; it disturbs the settled arrangement and brings about new combinations.

—William Beveridge

Many managers take up too much space in their conversations with employees. They think they know the answers and that employees should listen. As a result, managers do all of the talking and employees are not presented with an opportunity to share their feelings or their side of the story. However, the best managers know it is the other way around.

To gain employee support and buy-in, great managers do more listening than talking. They ask questions, and they believe that others have good ideas to offer. The third critical mind-set of a painless performance conversation is to use your curiosity to help employees solve their own challenges.

You probably became a manager because you were really good at solving problems and completing work. You may have been promoted because you were technically competent. It makes sense that you should be able to tell others how to do the job because you were good at it. The problem: few employees want to be told what to do.

Because you are technically competent to do the job, it's easy to step into problem-solver mode. Yet, most employees want to be involved. Some warning signs that you are being a solver rather than an involver may be when you begin sentences with:

“You need to ....”
“You should ...

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