Thursday, July 29


Employees are often found in their respective departments following orders as task management associates with little to no thinking. Guidelines are present in cubicles along with scripts and a "color inside the lines" instruction from leadership. What is missing is vital to improving customer satisfaction, process improvement, and meeting corporate goals. Getting your teams to think is a job function that needs to be included in all job descriptions for front-line employees.

I was fascinated with a post from Kate Nasser about the Two Magical Words for Best 21st Century People-Skills. "What if" made me think about myself, my teams and those around me.

As a leader, I have always wanted to know what employees thought about our operations. Asking for feedback and their thoughts is a balancing act. Sure, you have a handful of the Saturday Night Live character Debby Downer, but if you are mentoring and developing your staff, great improvements and progress is abundant. Here is a typical conversation:

Employee: "I don't know how we are going to meet this delivery time frame because we are already full."

Me: (pause) "Well, what do you think we should do?"

Employee: "I don't know."

Me: "If you had to make the decision, what do you think would be the best option."

Employee: "We could add this delivery to the beginning of a route, then come back to pick up the original 1st delivery and increase the time window throughout the day so there are not any customer delays."

Me: "Great idea."

This was a regular dialogue with my staff. Sure, I could have taken the time to "think" out a plan but wait practice did our employees received. How were they developing? As a leader, asking your employees' thoughts provides benefits that are immediate and also long-term.

How are you getting your employees to think on the job? What are other ways to generate ideas from your greatest assets? WHAT DO YOU THINK? Post your comments here:


  1. Totally Agree. Companies do not always engage their employees enough for solutions. I believe in scheduling weekly meetings with employees asking employee's to come up with issues they would like to discuss. In meetings I like to talk not only about business goals, but also talk to team members on a personal level like finding out how they spent their weekend. This helps employees feel valued and cared about.

    Best Regards,
    James Sorensen

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  3. James,

    You are doing what most leaders do not even try to attempt. Connecting personally and professionally. I am sure they respect you. Thanks for commenting on the post. Have a great rest of the weekend.

    Serving You,
    Brock Patterson