Companies are uncomfortable with employees who ask too many questions. It's just this simple: If you ask me to jump off a bridge with you as an employee, I'm willing to do it. I just want to know why we’re jumping off the bridge. I need to know is it worth it for me to jump off the bridge. I want to know will I have a parachute. I want to know what's going to happen when I get to the bottom. I am asking questions because I want answers.
This seems like extreme reasoning when comparing an employee asking questions to jumping off a bridge, however employers become nervous of employees who ask too many questions. This puts them in a predicament where they must talk about their processes and policies. There may be many reasons why companies want employees to follow directions with no question. One thought is most of the processes and policies have been in effect so long, no one knows why they exist. In addition, it may be costly to make changes. Either way, this should not be such a negative experience for the employee.
Employees are not robots and should not be treated that way. Employees who ask questions actually want to be invested in the company. It should be a positive experience to have employees ask questions. This does not make the employee a negative person. They just want to know more.
It shouldn't be complicated answer the questions. Don't be afraid of the employee who asked the question. This may be the employee who can help take your company to the next level and point out something that is failing in your infrastructure. Companies should not be intimidated by the employees who ask questions. If you answer the questions correctly the employee may be willing to jump off the bridge for you and with you provided you answer the questions they ask.
Common sense coaching makes the difference between a positive and negative work environment. Particularly in the corporate environment. There should be a balance between coaching and improving the employee morale. There is no value to providing negative feedback to employees and leaving them feeling diminished. The employee can place the negative energy back into the customer experience. The goal at the end of each day of the positive feedback from customers since they provide revenue. If you provide negative feedback only, this is a 50% to 90% cut in revenue to your company. This is huge.
Coaching is as simple as this: provide feedback that improves the customer experience. It is neither positive or negative. It is constructive and based on the perception of the person receiving the feedback. It sounds complicated, but it is simple. The fewer adjectives, the better to explain how the employee can improve. Provide directions and point of reference. As a coach, it is important to provide the reason why based on personal knowledge. This is complicated for supervisors or managers who have never worked in the field, yet have been hired based on networking or education. I feel every supervisor, manager, or VP needs to humble them and understand what the employee does to coach appropriately. Employees take coaching seriously from someone who truly understands what they are coaching.
Management teams have an opportunity to provide feedback that provides direct results to the company revenue. It is important to look at the opportunities to build an employee up and give them direction to excel in their position and even grow with the company. This is just common sense.
Juanita Espino B.S. Comm., M.A.Ed.
Communications Consultant and Professional Advisor