5 Questions to ask your high potential team members in this new working world.
It’s time for us all to admit that the world of work has shifted. It’s still shifting, and I don’t think anyone’s entirely sure where it will land. And yet, as a leader, it’s part of your job to identify, develop, and embolden the talent in your team to reach their highest potential.
By definition, potential means that we’re talking about their future. A future that, more than ever, is a massive guess. When it comes to this new normal, we can look to the past, but the future is ambiguous. So how can you help your team navigate their future? Here are some questions you can ask to start the conversation.
1. What does success look like for you?
We often assume that success for an individual is a promotion or some other metric of success. The lines between life and work have blurred. Through surprises on Zoom calls, we’ve all learned more about the lives of our teams. We’re talking about the whole person. So looking at the whole person, what would great look like?
2. What could you be this time next year?
You likely hired this person because you saw their potential. Often when things are crazy, we ask people to keep their heads down and focus on the now. Your boss would be pretty cross with you if you only focused on the “now” when it comes to the business. So why do we give that advice when we’re talking about people? No, this isn’t “What title could you be…” or when is my next promotion, guide the conversation to one about their potential.
3. What is it you’d like to learn?
There’s this magic moment for every team member. The moment is when both their confidence in what they do (their experience) and their excitement and curiosity about what they can learn is in perfect balance. We all want both. So why not help them make it happen?
4. What kind of working structure would work best for you?
Office? Work from anywhere? a hybrid? — policies are changing almost every day. As their manager, now is the perfect time to chat about what is working and what isn’t. You can co-craft a working structure that works for you and works for them. We’re in a unique time where we can re-define policies. If you know what you and your team want it to be, aren’t you building for a better future?
5. Who could you be building relationships with, and how will you approach this task?
The more people who understand the value of and how to engage with your team, the better. It increases collaboration, innovation, and is the activity that genuinely empowers your team. Take this opportunity to strengthen your direct reports relationships with other people in the organization. For example, should your boss have a stronger relationship with them? Is there one of your peers in a different function? Generosity, when it comes to your professional relationships, always pays off if you intend to amplify.
I know the list of things to do is SO long right now, but even small investments in your team’s potential — the Future Them — will deliver outsized dividends. And in a workplace where the stress level is probably running a little high, it’s these types of conversations and activities that help people navigate the ambiguity.
You chose to be a leader because you wanted to help people be their best. What better time than now?
PS. If you want to think about the conversation for yourself, we can help you out there. Here are the same ideas from the individual’s perspective because you need to think about the Future You too.