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May 25, 201711:52 AMLeader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

The ‘innerview’: A tool for employee engagement

(page 1 of 2)

It's been documented in study after study that the single greatest factor leading to engaged, motivated people in today’s workplace is the relationship a worker has with his/her supervisor. That’s what the research shows. So if you are one of those supervisors, how do you get your people engaged?

There are many, many answers to this question. Rather than go through that litany, you might find it helpful to look at a tool that we present as part of one of our training programs. That tool is doing an “innerview” with your people to get to know them at a deeper, more personal level. Many leaders find that having a deeper connection with their team enhances their ability to create an environment of engagement and commitment instead of mere compliance. Conducting an innerview is a proven method of deepening a leader’s connection with his/her people through a casual conversation. The basic structure presented below is not intended for an employee interview. It is intended to address stronger relationships between leaders and their people. There are three types of questions that can serve as a guide:

Factual questions

These are questions that are typically conversational in nature and revolve around factual information. The answers to these questions are occasionally found in personnel files. Examples of factual questions are:

  • Where did you grow up?
  • What kind of activities were you involved in as a kid?
  • Tell me about your first job.
  • What were your interests in school?
  • Tell me about your family.
  • What do you do for fun?

Causative questions

These are questions to determine the motives or causative factors behind some of the answers to the causative questions. They are typically “why” and “what” questions. Examples of causative questions are:

  • Why did you pick that particular school?
  • What caused you to study                      ?
  • What brought you to your current job?
  • What direction did you go in right after high school?
  • How did you get involved in that hobby?

Values-based questions

These are questions to help connect with a person’s values system. They are designed to help a leader hear the worth his/her people place on things. They are also questions that people rarely ask, but give a greater view of the inner person. Examples of values-based questions are:

  • Tell me about a person who had a major impact on your life.
  • If you had to do it all over again what, if anything, would you do differently?
  • If there were a major turning point in your life what might that be?
  • There are many highs and lows as you go through life. Are there any of either that had a significant influence on you?
  • What words of wisdom would you give a young person if he/she sought your advice?
  • How would you sum up your personal philosophy in a sentence or two?


May 26, 2017 07:23 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I see nothing wrong with learning more about employees, which is the focus of these questions. But wouldn't it be more effective to learn more about the business? Empowering employees to think and act like owners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company, is a proven way to drive results and engagement. Industry leaders like Southwest Airlines, Capital One and BHP Billiton, (clients of mine), and hundreds of private companies treat their employees like trusted business partners, enabling them to make more money for their company and themselves. They consistently see both profits and engagement soar. This Forbes article provides more background: http://www.forbes.com/sites/fotschcase/2016/05/31/engage-your-employees-in-making-money/

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Known for his Dale Carnegie training expertise, Terry Siebert is writing to inspire leaders to reach their greatest potential. Leadership, today more than ever, may mean the difference between closing the doors or opening new markets. Every month, he'll post help with mindset, business tools and more.

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