Managers have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help employees grow professionally. They also have access to resources and information that you may not have. Managers can provide you with critical information and guidance. But, they cannot help you if they do not know your needs or concerns. That is why it is always vital you ask a manager what you need to know if you want to do your job well or develop your career.
What are good questions to ask managers?
There are no bad questions when asking your manager for help or guidance. But the best questions come from a place of deep curiosity and a desire to learn. Managers love questions that clarify instructions, seek feedback or assistance, and are relevant to the team.
You have to ask questions in a way that shows your manager that you are eager to contribute and add value to the team.
Here are 22 examples of what to ask a manager:
1. What is a typical day like for you?
This is a good example of what to ask a manager because it will give you an idea of the manager’s work schedule and what their typical day involves. It can also help you understand the boss’s priorities and how they manage their time.
You may even get some tips for improving your own productivity. Asking this question can also help to build a relationship with the manager and create a more open line of communication.
2. What is your opinion on this?
Asking for a manager’s opinion can be helpful to get their perspective on a situation. This question shows that you value their opinion and want to get their insight on something.
It can also be used to determine how you should proceed on an issue or the matter at hand.
You can get your manager’s thoughts on how to handle certain situations, or how they would handle the situation. It is a broad question that can solicit a lot of information, so you need to use it wisely.
If there is something specific you want to know about your job, it is better to ask a specific question.
For example, if you are not sure whether you should take on a new project, ask your manager “Can you tell me more about the project and what the expectations are?” rather than asking them their opinion on whether or not you should do it.
Asking specific questions will ensure that you get the right answers.
Read related article: 12 Examples of What to Tell Your Manager to Improve On
3. Are there any areas I can improve on?
Asking your manager for feedback shows that you are interested in becoming a better employee. There are always areas where we can improve. In fact, no one is perfect, and we can all benefit from feedback.
Sometimes it is hard to see our weaknesses, or we might be too close to a situation to give an objective opinion. That is why it is necessary to receive feedback from others, especially our managers.
Your manager can observe your work and give you constructive feedback. They will be happy to provide pointers on how to improve your skills. Not everything your manager says will be positive, but remember that they want you to succeed.
4. What is your management style?
Every manager has a different style, and it is good you know what to expect from your boss and manage your work and relationships with them better.
Some managers prefer a hands-off approach, while others like to be more involved in all aspects of their employees’ work. It is important to know your boss’s management style and adjust your working style accordingly.
5. What goals do you have for me in the coming year?
The reason for asking this question is to understand what your manager expect from you in the coming year.
Managers set goals for their team members because they want them to achieve results that are aligned with the company’s overall objectives.
By asking your manager that question, you can gain a better understanding of what is expected of you, and how you can contribute towards meeting those expectations. This allow you to set realistic goals and track your progress against these goals throughout the year.
6. Have I met the expectations that you set for me when I was hired?
This is a question that can help you gauge how well you are meeting the expectations of your manager and identify areas where you may need to improve.
Additionally, it can also provide insight into what your manager expects from you in the future. The goal is to work on those areas where you are not doing well and meet the expectations that were set for you when you were hired.
7. Is there anything about my work performance that concerns you?
Is there anything about my work performance that concerns you? There may be reasons why you may want to ask your manager about their thoughts on your work performance.
Maybe you are concerned about not meeting all the expectations they have for you, or there is something specific bothering you, and you want to get their take on it.
Also, when asking this question, you are allowing your manager to share any feedback they may have about your work performance. This feedback could be anything from concerns about your work habits to areas you could improve.
This question also opens up a dialogue between you and your manager that can help to improve your relationship and ensure issues are addressed before they become bigger problems.
Read also: 17 Examples of Personal Aspirations
8. How can I add the most value to you and the team?
One of the most fulfilling parts of working is knowing that you are adding value to your team and manager. This question will help you figure out how to do just that.
When asking your manager how you can add the most value, you show your eagerness and willingness to do whatever it takes to be a valuable team member.
Also, this question gives your manager a chance to share what they see as your strengths and weaknesses, which can help you focus on areas where you need improvement.
9. How can I learn from your past project successes?
Asking your manager how you can learn from their past project successes is a great way to get some invaluable insights into what has worked well for them in the past.
The information from your manager can help you understand what works and what does not work. You can use it as a guide when planning your own projects, ensuring that you consider the things that have proven to be successful in the past.
You should be eager to learn if you want to continue growing in your career. Asking this question can help to build a stronger relationship with your manager by demonstrating your interest and willingness to learn from them.
10. What is the next step in achieving our short-term goal?
Achieving short-term goals is essential for the long-term success of a team. They provide a road map for employees and keep the team moving in the right direction.
Asking your manager what the next step is in achieving your department’s short-term goal is an excellent way to stay focused and on track.
This question will help you determine what you need to do to help your team move forward. And it will also show your manager that you want to take initiative and are proactive about achieving results.
11. How is the productivity of our team holding up?
You are curious to know how the productivity of our team is holding up, or if anyone seems less productive than usual.
You want to know whether there has been a recent drop in productivity within the team and take corrective actions if necessary.
This question also can help you understand where the team is struggling, what the manager is focusing on, or where they see potential areas of improvement.
12. Is it possible to work from home occasionally (or full-time)?
There are reasons why you might want to ask your manager if you can work from home occasionally or full-time. Maybe you need some quiet time to focus on a big project.
Working from home can help you reduce commuting time. Plus, it gives you the flexibility to take care of personal matters during the workday.
Whatever the reason is, it is always best to ask your manager before assuming that you can work from home.
Your boss may want to know if working from home will impact your productivity or your availability for collaboration with the rest of your team. After all, your manager is responsible for ensuring that all employees meet their deadlines and goals.
13. How does my performance compare to that of my peers in similar roles?
One way to measure how you are meeting expectations is to compare your performance to that of your peers.
You can ask your manager how you stack up against others in similar roles. This will give you a good sense of where you stand compared to others and what areas you may need to improve on.
Also, it can help identify any potential strengths or weaknesses that could be holding you back from achieving much success.
Your manager generally has a good understanding of their team performance, and they can give you a realistic picture of how you are performing compared to others or what steps you can take to improve.
Read more: 16 Character Traits of a Hard Worker
14. What development opportunities can you recommend for me?
Your manager can provide specific recommendations or resources that can help you meet your goals. Managers are typically happy to provide development opportunities, but they need to know what you’re interested in.
If there is something in particular that you would like to focus on, let your manager know. For example, rather than saying “I would like to develop my listening skills,” try something like “Can you suggest something to do that would improve the way I listen to others during meetings?”
So, ask your manager for recommendations on what development opportunities are available for you and how to get them.
15. Are there any aspects of my job that I can delegate to others?
There may be some tasks or duties within your job that are not essential that you can delegate to someone else. This is a question with two purposes.
First, it shows that you are proactive and interested in taking on additional responsibilities. Second, it can help lighten your load and make more time available to focus on the critical tasks that only you can do.
16. What criteria do you use to make decisions?
When asking a manager for help or guidance, be clear about what you are looking for. This will help you understand the manager’s thought process and how they arrive at conclusions.
You get insight into their decision-making style, which may differ from yours.
17. What are your thoughts on delegation and empowerment?
There are a few reasons why you ask your manager about their thoughts on delegation and empowerment.
First, delegation is an essential skill for managers to develop, as it allows them to focus on higher-level tasks and goals. Second, if employees are empowered, they take ownership of their work and be more productive.
18. What are your priorities and how do they align with mine?
What are your priorities, and how do they align with mine? This question will help you understand if the manager’s goals align with your own.
If they do not, it could lead to disagreements, or it may be challenging working together in the future.
It is also vital to know what a manager considers a priority, as this can give you an idea of what is most important to them and what you should focus on.
19. What would it take for you to recommend me for a raise or promotion next year?
The reason for this question is to get an idea of what your manager thinks it would take for you to get a raise or promotion. This way, you can start working on those things so that you have a good chance of getting promoted or receiving a raise.
The feedback is vital because it allows you to set goals and measure your progress over time. Plus, it shows your manager that you are serious about advancing in your career.
Read also: 19 Examples of Smart Goals for Managers
20. What am I truly good at doing here that others aren’t?
We all have certain things we do better than others, and it is good to know what they are so that you can focus on them and continue to develop in those areas.
What are you truly good at doing here that others aren’t? What makes you unique and valuable to this organization? What can you contribute that no one else can?
These are all legitimate questions to ask a manager because they help clarify what role you should be playing in the team.
Too often, people end up in positions that don’t suit their talents and strengths, leading to dissatisfaction and unhappiness on the job.
It is, therefore, crucial to figure out what you are good at or enjoy doing, then focus your efforts on those things and become happier.
When asking your manager this question, be prepared to explain why this is something you are interested in and how it could benefit the team.
21. From where am I as a team member expected to draw motivation?
Asking your manager where to draw motivation shows that you want to be productive. It is a question that can clarify expectations and your role as a team member.
And, it can help to foster a sense of mutual respect and understanding between team members and their managers. Employees want to know where they stand and what is expected of them.
22. What is your position on collaboration and teamwork?
Managers need to foster a collaborative environment where teamwork is encouraged, and everyone feels comfortable working together towards a common goal, but not everyone does it.
So, asking for their position on collaboration and teamwork is vital for understanding how the manager generally operates. Do they prefer employees who work independently or do they encourage team collaboration?
Collaboration and teamwork are essential for the success of any team. Your manager should be a strong advocate of working together to achieve common goals.
Every team member needs to have something valuable to contribute to the team’s success. Also, your boss must always be willing to lend a hand when needed and committed to providing support and assistance whenever possible.
People might not ask their manager for help or advice for fear of looking incompetent, or maybe they worry about what their manager might think of them.
But the truth is, it is actually beneficial to ask your manager about a range of issues concerning your workplace and career life.
Managers are usually happy to help out their employees when they can, and it is a great way to build a strong working relationship with your boss.
Plus, managers have a lot of experience and knowledge they can share with you, so do not be afraid to ask for their guidance or opinion when you need it.