Many managers overlook a key opportunity: getting to know their team better.
This is the secret to success for search marketing teams.
This article explores the significance of truly knowing your team and provides steps to initiate a deeper understanding for improved relationships and job performance.
I am not an HR manager and have never worked in HR. Still, I have managed people in some capacity over the years and have a strong interest in the psychology behind human behavior – that is what I’m pulling from for this article. If you are uncertain about appropriate employee questions, don’t hesitate to consult your HR team.
Why knowing your team on a deeper level matters
In some ways, I’m writing to advocate for those who (like me) wished their managers took the time to understand them as individuals rather than maintaining superficial relationships that neglect their preferences, strengths and career aspirations.
I’m mainly referring to a direct manager, but in some cases, even higher-level managers and department leads should share the responsibility of understanding their team.
It never made sense to me how to build a successful team without truly knowing them. How else can you create a high-performing team?
A rockstar team has trust and respect as a foundation, but that is merely table stakes.
When you understand your employees’ backgrounds, address their motivations, and invest time in challenging and teaching them, you’re paving the way to individual growth and team success.
As a search marketing manager, here are some questions you can ask to learn more about your team.
What are their previous work experiences?
This question will help you:
- Know more about the work they’ve done in the past and their experience in other work environments.
- Give you insight into their past experiences and what they can bring to your team now.
Granted, this is typically asked during interviews before hiring. But I find that my managers rarely remember or know the real extent of the work that I’ve actually done.
This is a key question to build on. Don’t just ask about one particular job. Ask about all the roles they’ve held, and feel free to discuss more about each role.
What do they enjoy most about what they do?
Asking this can reveal your employee’s motivations and what makes them tick. This helps you assign work they enjoy, ultimately improving retention.
Some people work just for money, and that’s OK. But it’s still important to ask so you can better support them.
What skills do they want to improve?
All your employees have skills, and you would be hard-pressed to find a good, motivated employee who doesn’t want to improve their skills.
In some positions I’ve held, I was dying to acquire new skills and build upon my current skills, but I felt like I never had the time in my workday to do so.
Often, I was afraid to assert myself more and wished my managers would have asked.
Asking this question will benefit the employee and help you round out your team’s skills by identifying skill gaps.
You’ll know where you may be able to have your team teach other members of your team new skills.
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Ask them future state questions
Beyond the “where do you see yourself in five years” question, ask your employees what they see in their future in terms of career.
This may get them to open up about some hangups they may have now in their current position.
It could also be a chance for you to learn about other positions in the company they may be interested in (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).
Getting to know your marketing team on a deeper level
These aren’t questions that are always covered in a performance review (although some could be), but they are important questions to ask your team that often go unasked.
Knowing the answers to these questions is pivotal and will help you learn more about your team’s motivations and build a solid foundation of trust and respect.
When I know a manager cares about me and my future, I am willing to put in more work and stick around.
When I feel like a manager could care less, I have no reason to stick around or care about them.
Investing time in asking your team these questions allows you to witness the impactful changes just a few simple questions can bring about.
I hope you find value in adding some of these questions to your list to ask your team or that it helped spark even more questions or thoughts about improving your overall team dynamic.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.