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12 Questions Supervisors Should Ask

Here we are…starting a new year and considering the foggy mist of time called “the future”. Wondering…what will the year hold for me? What opportunities will come my way? Will I see the opportunities or will they pass me by as I view them or unwanted changes or threats?

Each year, we should take time to reflect – on the past experiences and on investing those experiences into the future. To help you with some “insight”, here are a few questions that may spur some thoughts:

1. What or who did I make better?

You should ask this question each day!Did I impact someone to help them grow into a better employee?Did I serve my stakeholders in a meaningful and value-added way?

2. Am I being true to the core values and mission?

Just like course corrections on a flight or on a boat, we each need “course corrections” with the company mission.Am I doing things to support our company mission and develop or maintain the core values?

3. If I met all my goals, how would that feel? How would others feel about me?What can I do to feel that way?

Most of us would agree that if we met our goals, we would feel pretty good about ourselves.Others would also feel good about your accomplishments.We can utilize that vision from the future to keep us motivated when times get tough or things don’t go as planned.

4. What haven’t I taken the time to learn about?

With the demands of work, family and other activities, we can get overwhelmed and lose sight of growing and developing.What is not 100% clear to me with a process or program?What do I need to learn about to help me help others?

5. Am I settling in my career?

When we settle for something, we settle for less.“It’s good enough” or “We don’t have time or money” are two things that are often offered as justification for doing things less than they could be done.As short-term mitigation actions, these justifications could be valid but…why just band aid the situation?You have two choices in life:be all that you can be or be only a part of what you can be.

6. What do I want life to be like in five years?

A few years ago, my wife was speaking with a receptionist at a chiropractic office.The receptionist was thinking about going back to school to earn a degree but was afraid of making the commitment saying that in four years, she would be 30 years old.My wife asked her “How old will you be in four years if you don’t go back to school and get your degree?”. The receptionist stuttered for a moment and then her eyes grew wide with the full impact of the question.The next visit to the office, the receptionist was gone…attending a local college.

Are you just trying to get “through” the next five years or are you trying to invest those years to your growth and success?What are you doing to invest towards that goal?

7. If I wasn't afraid, what could I do?

As in the story about the receptionist going back to school, we often let fear guide our actions.Don’t get me wrong, fear is important.It helps us from doing something that is harmful.It also can move us into an unhelpful zone.Frozen by fear, we decide not to make decisions.Analysis paralysis is a phrase that I’ve used many times to describe my actions when I’ve reflected upon a course of action.

8. Who has those special qualities that I aspire to develop for myself?

We’ve all looked at people and thought – “Wow, I would love to be like that person”. It can be colleagues at your workplace or characteristics of people on whom books are written.So, the real question is “What can I do to reflect on those qualities and infuse them into my life?”

9. What problems are we really solving?

Too many times, we get caught up in the process of doing an action.Completing training, doing an audit or supervising people.We miss the reason why we are doing these actions.In essence, the actions we take become just a box that we check off as “done”. What are the problems?Are we really solving them?If you understand CA/PA (Corrective Actions / Preventative Actions), you will truly understand this question and grasp the steps necessary to solve issues.

10. What’s stopping me from doing the things that I should be doing?

If you see what should be done, what is preventing you from taking those actions?What skills do you need to do those things?Never, ever give up on reaching for your goals.Success could be one question, one action or one step away.

11. Will you be my mentor?

This question is tough.You are asking for help and most of us don’t like to ask for any help – we think it is a sign of weakness.One specific way of getting mentoring is to be involved in a group – going to a workshop.Another way is to bring in a development program to your company.

12. What is the most important lesson I’ve learned in my career?Am I living that lesson?

We can use lessons as experiences to improve and grow.We can reflect upon it and use it just like a tool.And just as similar as a tool, it requires action from YOU to make it work.Are you putting in the activity to grow or just to get through the day?

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