January 14, 2016

How To Get Your Teammates To Speak Up


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An engaged team is more motivated, more proactive, and more productive. But we know this. As a financial services company, we think high engagement levels at the office are the best way to inspire your team to perform better. A great team dynamic makes a difference. But if your employees are tracking in the opposite direction, are you doomed?

Don’t fear! If you don’t have great team dynamics at the outset, or if your team has trouble communicating, there are some things you can do as a manager to get your team on the right track.

And this, my friends, has a lot to do with the language you’re using on a daily basis.

Not only do you have to think before you speak, but you must also pay attention to the ways in which you are interacting with your employees. Does it seem like you are talking down to them? Or do you tend to lecture in front of the room and hold for questions until the end?

News flash: you’re not a professor. And today, your employees don’t want to be corporate drones, regurgitating everything you say. They want to do just the opposite: they want to be active participants.

But what if they’re quiet and unassuming? Well, my team at AcceleratingCFO has compiled a few questions to ask them to get them talking….

“Hey, do you have a minute? I’m stumped on this problem and was wondering if you have any ideas!”

For starters, asking your employees for help shows you are human. And sometimes you need help, too. So make it known that you need some help. You’ll see that your teammates will be more eager to offer up solutions when you offer the opportunity to let their voices be heard.

“Are you free to stop by? I have a thoughts for our next project, but was wondering if I can run them by you.”

Start by throwing out a couple of ideas for a new project. Then, see if they have any ideas. If they respond by agreeing to everything you’ve just said, try these questions to kick-start their imaginations: What do you like about this idea? Is there a way that this could be improved? Gently push them into exploring their own thoughts. They won’t be the only ones benefitting from this exercise: you’ll also get a different perspective as well.

“Could you give me a few suggestions on this project you’ve been working on? I’m thinking we could offer up solutions based off of this year’s report and would love to hear your thoughts.”

Most employees have a lot of thoughts and opinions running through their minds. Even the quiet ones. So try and capture their thinking on a project they are familiar with. If they don’t like to speak up, ask them to send you the initial notes in an email. Then ask them to stop by and talk through their rationale. At the end, ask if they have any other ideas after talking through it with you or invite them to ask questions – this is how they will learn to speak up more!

While these are only a few suggestions, there are plenty more you can try. Remember, you can always pick and choose the method you think will work best. Just be sure to give yourself options! Trust us: you’ll see the quiet team members come out of their shells in no time.


Are you prepared to handle the biggest challenges faced by business owners?

Don’t get blindsided by problems that other talented leaders have already solved.

We’ve teamed up with Dr. Hector Lozada, Professor of Economics at Seton Hall to survey business owners ranging from start-up founders to seasoned CEOs. What came out of it is a cheat sheet for sidestepping the roadblocks, bottlenecks, and challenges that plague your colleagues and competitors.

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