Ask questions. Build trust. Get your employees to perform


Leaders must be compassionate, likeable and interested in their staff. Markitects' Ian Rheeder explains how.

You’ve just arrived at the office when you get a phone call from a number you don’t recognise. It turns out to be an eager sales person working at a call centre, who is about to launch into a scripted sales pitch. You may politely decline but if you’re the average person you’re going to abruptly cut them off and feel annoyed at the intrusion. There’s a reason for this. Ian Rheeder, chartered marketer at Markitects, explains that people have an unconscious repulsion to being persuaded. Nobody, he says, likes being sold to.

But, if a trusting relationship precedes persuasion, then the person being persuaded will be more amenable to being meaningfully engaged. 

“This insight is useful to salespeople, but leaders can take a leaf out of this book.” And it’s backed by neuroscience. Trust is built by a reciprocal and nurturing relationship. There’s an art and a science to it, but asking the right questions goes a long way in building conviction.

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Ian says:  

“Trust is the overarching prerequisite of all relationships – the proverbial foot in the door – and in an uncertain world, there is an increasing need for trust.” 

Therefore, leaders need to be likeable, empathetic, compassionate and show genuine interest in their followers. One excellent way of demonstrating these traits is through asking questions.

Here are Ian’s top trust-building questions for leaders:

1.      What as a company are we doing right?
2.      How can I help you? (this expresses humility/support)
3.      What isn't going well?
4.      How can I be a better leader? (this shows vulnerability and transparency)
5.      What was your favourite moment this week?
6.      What part of your job is most meaningful to you?
7.      What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing?
8.      What are your strengths? How can we build on that?
9.      Is it clear what we are doing and why?
10.    Why would you want to be led by me?

Questioning in this way results, according to neuroscience, in an increased interest in the leader’s message. More often the person being engaged with wants to return the favour. And that could be improving their work output and being an excellent employee.

Do you want to learn how to ask the right questions to build trust? Visit the CFO SA Training page and qualify for 10 percent discount with code CFO2018.

What course participants had to say about Ian Rheeder’s courses:

“Overall, it is the best course I have been on; no dull moments.”
KAM, leading packaging company

“I now realise my mistakes I’ve been making.”
Sales manager, leading door manufacturer

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