Born to Succeed Insights

The One Leadership Must Do and the 8 Questions to Help You Get There

As we move in 2022, it has become clear like COVID -19, hybrid and remote work are here to stay. With that recognition, one of the biggest challenges leaders had during the past two years and will continue to have, is how to build a more engaged team in this climate.

Why does engagement matter? When a team member is engaged, they tend to be more committed, put in extra effort and care more deeply about their work and the company they work for. The great resignation has highlighted employee desires to work some place they care about and that cares back.  Here is the thing, companies are an incorporated piece of paper and don’t do the caring, it’s the leaders and managers of people who work at the company that show the care! When someone says my company cares, they are really saying the people I work for and with are engaged with me personally and understand who I am as a person.

While you may think a team event is a great way to engage with your team, your must do is to start the engagement process first at the individual level – one direct report at a time.  Begin with the following eight questions. Can you answer each one for each of your team members? If you can’t, then there is no better day than today to start learning about the individuals on your team and start the process of deeper engagement.

  1. What are their career aspirations?

By understanding future aspirations, you will have a window into goals and intentions. This can help guide leaders when assigning current and future work and open a door to development opportunities to support their goals.

  1. How do their personal aspirations drive them?

What do they like to do after work? What do they live for? Are they training for a marathon or trying to save enough money to buy a house? Understanding their top personal goals or things they want to achieve allows you to see each other beyond the next project assignment.

  1. What motivates them daily?

Is it growth, recognition, or approval? Maybe it’s helping others, physical rewards, or money. Could it be opportunities for exposure to senior leaders? We all want to have purpose in our daily pursuits supporting their motivations helps drive more purpose.

  1. Which values are most important to them?

What characteristics and behaviors motivate them and guide their decisions? Do their values and company values align? How might this impact their work product?

  1. What are their top talents, gifts, or skills?

Every role has a job description but what makes that person unique to their role? Are they quick to pick up new ideas or a great communicator? Are they a leader, a learner, extremely detailed or a strategic thinker? By knowing this you can better use their strengths and help develop other areas.

  1. How can you most effectively communicate with them?

Are they analytical (hard data and clearly defined tasks)? Intuitive (Big picture first then details)? Functional (process focused, one step at a time)? Personal (values connection first then work details). How might you need to adjust your style to work better with theirs?

  1. What are their professional development needs and how can I support them?

What are the one or two things that if they focused on them would have the biggest impact on their development? Leaders tend to give too many development items to work on. By focusing on just one or two they are more apt to see progress and build confidence.

  1. Which leadership strategy would work best for this individual?

This is your opportunity to assess how to best lead and support each member on your team. You can ask yourself questions like; Should I be preparing them for a promotion? Do they need more direction and inspection? Would training help them tackle a development need? Do they need a mentor? Do they need to be inspired?

It can be incredibility fulfilling for both the leader and her team members when you start operating at this level of engagement. And, if you happen to work for someone who isn’t engaging at this level, then this is your opportunity to answers these questions about yourself and find ways to begin sharing in your one-on-one sessions.  The must do leadership skill of engagement doesn’t have to be hard if you break it down one team member at a time.


Jill Bornstein is the Founder of Upnext Leadership Coaching and an ICF ACC Executive Coach. She helps new and high potential leaders who having exciting, important, or daunting goals achieve them so they can soar.

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