The Most Important Question a Manager Can Ask


What can I do to help you be more effective?

What question could be more central to being a good boss? If you want to manage and lead successfully, you’ve got to know what the people doing the work need. So why not ask them? But the truth is, this question is not asked by bosses nearly enough.”

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, The Most Important Question a Manager Can Ask, by Linda Hill & Kent Lineback.

In this April 18, 2011 post on the HBR Blog Network, the authors posit a simple but elusive point:  By asking your team what you can do to help them be more effective, you can gain their trust and unleash their potential.

More from the article:

“Once you start these discussions, you’ll find they don’t take much time, except when they deserve more time. And they pay dividends. They build trust, they help people work together better and do better work, they identify and remove obstacles.”

Read the short article to learn more!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious™ strategist

What do you think?  Please add your comments to join the discussion!

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4 Responses to The Most Important Question a Manager Can Ask

  1. Debbra Ricci says:

    Mike, I share your passion for developing effective leadership and proactive communication. I agree this could be the single most valuable question to ask an employee. I also believe that leaders don’t always know what other questions they should be asking their people, to uncover insights into their organization and what could be impeding it’s success. These questions aren’t necessarily on an “agenda” and may or may not even be on their “radar”. Praise or Concern is a “game” that can be played in team settings to stimulate discussions about such issues. I would love to share it with you, if you are interested in learning more about it.

    • Mike Osorio says:

      Hi Debra,

      Thanks for the comment and the offer. I went to the website to learn more about P&C. Interesting concept. Our organization is located in Hong Kong with a global employee base so multiple languages is a requirement, particularly simplified and traditional Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Italian, and French. It appears yours is an English-only product.

      Best regards, Mike

      > New comment on your post “The Most Important Question a Manager Can Ask” > Author : Debbra Ricci (IP: , > > E-mail : > URL : > Whois :

      • Debbra Ricci says:

        Hello Mike,
        Thank you so much for the interest and the response! I am sorry, I did not realize you were based in Hong Kong. I certainly appreciate your affirmation on our product concept and if ever an opportunity would come up to pass on your recommendation to others, we would be grateful. I enjoy your communication and look forward to your insights! We both share a passion for leadership development and it’s always fun to learn other perspectives. Have a wonderful week and thanks again for the message. Hopefully, we will be multilingual someday to serve your needs!
        Debbra Ricci

  2. Mike Osorio says:

    Hi Debbra,

    Absolutely! Let’s stay connected. One never knows when paths will cross and I will certainly keep your product in mind for others!


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