Guest Post by Linda Hill & Kent Lineback

From Harvard Business Review Blog Network

When is the last time you asked the group you manage, and the individuals in it, this simple question:

What can I do to help you be more effective?

What question could be more central to being a good boss?  If you want to manage and lead successfully, you’ve got to know what the people doing the work need. So why not ask them?

But the truth is, this question is not asked by bosses nearly enough.

Dr. Linda A. Hill is the Wallace Brett Donham Professor Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Kent Lineback is an Executive Performance Coach.  They are the coauthors of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader (HBR Press, 2011).

Two Questions from Bob:

  1. So when is the last time you asked your direct reports, “What can I do to help you be more effective?’
  2. When will be the next time you ask your direct reports, “What can I do to help you be more effective?”

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