11 questions every manager should know the answers to


Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden, authors of “Contented Cows Give Better Milk,” proselytize about the importance of managing for a happy workforce. Their concept of “sitting on the footlocker” encourages managers to interact with employees at all levels regularly and get to know them as people. Catlette and Hadden say every manager should know the answers to these 11 questions for everyone they manage.

1      What is your name? (No kidding.)

     What are you really good at, at work? Outside of work?

3      What do you do for fun, at work? Outside of work? (Be careful.)

     What are you lousy at?

     What would you like to do better at work?

     What are a couple of your strongest passions?

     How do you get to work each day? Do you drive? Alone or with others? Some other form of transportation? How long does it take?

8      Has there been some powerful life experience, good or bad, which impacts your approach to your work? (No need to go into detail, and if there isn’t one, that’s OK.)

     Who and what is most important to you, outside of work? (No need to pry.)

10   Is there something in particular about you or your life experience that especially suits you to serve some need in your work?

11   What are you having trouble with at work that you could use someone’s help with?

Lead with compassion.
Build a community, not just a workplace.
Feed the troops first.

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