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Team Building: Be the Leader that Asks Employees How Satisfied they are

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

With my experience as a coach and communication trainer, I have discussed many questions with leaders, but some just pile up. One question I have often heard during coachings or team trainings is: "How and should I even ask my employees if they are satisfied at work and how they are doing?". However, it is sometimes not really about the question itself, but much rather about the answer. Some leaders are afraid that employees shared that they are curretly dissatisfied?

Despite cetrain fears, it is super important to regularly ask your employees about their emotional state and satisfaction. Therefore, I would like to use this blog post to highlight why it is important to ask, how to deal with the answers and what tools to use. This article is intended to provide support and assistance to managers and leaders but also to employees.

Why asking is so important

As a manager, it is not always easy to handle all tasks and responsibilities at the same time. Nevertheless, personal exchange between managers and employees is important. Asking employees regularly how they are feeling and taking genuine interest in how employees are doing shows appreciation. In addition, such questions strengthen trust and promote the creation of a safe working environment by reinforcing the feeling of belonging to a team. There are numerous studies that show that social contact and psychological safety are important and beneficial in the workplace.

Especially when someone is dissatisfied or unhappy, it can be difficult to proactively communicate this. That's why it's so valuable when you as a manager or colleague take the initiative. By taking the initiative, you may be able to identify issues and challenges early on and build a better understanding of your team. When employees are able to openly and honestly share if something is not going well, it also shows that trust exists and that this person is also interested in working together on a solution.

How to deal with unsatisfied employees or teams

In the first step, it is your job to simply listen. Whether it's an individual or a team, listen to whatever the person or your team has to say. Active listening is important to get a greater understanding and overview on what is going on. Be aware that you do not have to respond immediately. Some employees may simply want to share their thoughts and feelings without expecting anything concrete. Others, however, want a solution, answer or your support. Nevertheless, I recommend taking time to think about how to deal with the situation, especially when dealing with complex or problematic issues.

Method: Visualize my Soccer Field Model

Imagine a soccer field. Half of the field is your space and the other the field your employees. First, it's important to stay on your side of the field and actively listen rather than jumping right over and doing something. Depending on your gut feeling, you can ask more questions to better understand the situation. However, it is important to give the other person time and space to share their thoughts. Also, confirm that you are listening and at the end, repeat what has been said to make sure you understood everything. Depending on the situation and the topic, you should let your employees know how you will deal with the topic. Of course, you cannot promise anything, but this shows that you take the topic seriously and are there as a contact person.

My Suggestion:

Naturally, you should regularly check your employee's job satisfaction. However, if there is a specific occasion and you want to receive detailed feedback on the current emotional state of your employees or teams, I recommend the following:

  1. Inform your employees that you would like to check-in on the current situation and feelings. Plan a team meeting and openly ask how everyone is doing and if someone would like to share something. It can help to take the initiative and share things you have noticed.

  2. Instead of asking verbally, you can also do a survey, anonymously or with names. Simple tools like Mentimeter or Kahoot can help. Anonymous and written surveys might sometimes be advantageous to reduce fears and integrate more people.

If you have questions or would like to be supported regarding this topic, I am here to help. As an experienced coach and trainer I would support you in identifying the unique challenge(s) your team is facing. In my team trainings, I can offer you tools and solutions how to align and motivate your team and to generate success together! My support can help you in topics such as word choice and positioning and provide you with long-term tools.


If this article has sparked your interest in a team training, then you can find more information on the following link. There, you can also easily book a non-binding initial meeting with me:

Interested in individual coaching? Feel free to book a getting-to-know meeting at the top right of this website. I look forward to hearing from you!

Would you like to hear more about my coaching? Then you might be interested in checking out the testimonials of my coachees. Or just leave a comment, I am happy to hear your feedback. :)


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