If you spend 40 hours a week with your employees, you probably think you know them pretty well. But just because you know what's on their to-do lists or what they do on the weekend doesn't mean you know who they are and what will motivate them to do their best.

If you want more inspired and motivated employees and a more successful company, you've got to start asking different questions. The two most important ones you can ask right now are:

1. What type of thinking challenges you the most?

In my work, I describe this as the type of thinking that helps you exercise your Genius. It's the thinking that challenges you - in a good way - at work. It helps you rise to the occasion, keeps you on your toes, and engages you enough that you don't lose interest like you would with work that doesn't challenge you.

When your employee identifies this type of thinking, figure out if there are ways you can tailor their projects so that more work inspires that kind of thinking. By doing so, you'll have a more motivated (and happier) employee on your team than before. And happier employees, as we all know, also help your retention rate.

2. What would be the most meaningful impact you could have on others?

It's not all about the work, though. We're not just robots going throughout our day by going through the motions. By focusing on your employees as humans and asking them to think about what impact they want to have, you're creating a personal connection that is rare and valuable.

Once you know their Purpose, you'll also be able to support them as they work to achieve it. That will increase their loyalty to you and your company, as they'll see that you're invested in them as an employee and as a person.

By getting them to think about these two things, you'll also help them evaluate if they're doing enough to ensure they have a healthy work-life balance. It's the kind of win-win situation that doesn't often come around in a work environment, which is why you shouldn't wait to ask your employees these questions.

Published on: Jul 20, 2017