by Mark Marone  |  June 16, 2020  |  10 Minute Read

Authentic conversations are a crucial component of human relationships. It is through authentic conversations that we empower workplace engagement that drives positive results. Learn from Mark Marone, PhD. is the director of research and thought leadership for Dale Carnegie and Associates, as he details the ways of how you can jump start your authentic conversations with your employees today.

Effective managers talk to their people

  • Managers account for nearly 70% of engagement scores
  • Relationships between managers and their teams begin with regular and meaningful interactions
  • Here are 12 questions to help you launch authentic conversations with employees

Employee Engagement Is All About Relationships

We’ve said it before…relationships you have with your employees matter.

Employee engagement continues to be a top issue for organizations, primarily because engagement is key to achieving stronger organizational performance including increased profits, improved productivity, and higher revenue. Yet most organizations have yet to attain the engagement scores they hoped for.

And you—as manager—can make all the difference in boosting employee engagement if you have the right tools. And the right attitude.

We can tell you how to have the right attitude, that decision is up to you as a manager. Attitude is your commitment to being a better manager, to engaging your employees and to being genuinely enthusiastic about developing relationships with them through each and every interaction – making it a daily habit, not just an occasional nice-to-do thing.

As for the tools, though, there are some immediate things you can do that will make a difference to your employees.

Ask Your Employees Questions and Listen

To paraphrase Dale Carnegie’s famous quote, let your employees do a great deal of the talking. The key to authentic conversations is turning the spotlight on your employees by asking the right questions (letting them take center stage with you being the audience. Just remember to take good notes and following up and follow through on what you hear.

Authentic Questions to Ask Your Employees

To kickstart conversations with employees, here are 12 questions to help you uncover the professional hopes and dreams of your employees while understanding and appreciating who they are as individuals:

  1. Of all the tasks you undertake in a week or a month, what really makes you feel energized?
  2. Do you have any work where you find yourself so engrossed in it that you lose track of time?
  3. If you could fill your whole week with work you enjoy doing, what would your week look like?
  4. What kind of tasks are on your “to do” list when you find yourself procrastinating?
  5. Are you doing work that you wish I’d assign to someone else?
  6. What parts of your job are you really good at doing?
  7. Which parts do you feel you struggle with?
  8. If you think about the work you do on a weekly or monthly basis, what are the top five things you do?
  9. What do you like most—and least—about the work you do currently?
  10. If you could have any job in the company, what would it be?
  11. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
  12. Is there anything holding you back from reaching your goals?

Of course, this isn’t a script and it’s important to sound authentic and genuine when asking these questions. Make them your own – in your own words – and most of all, listen to their responses.

There are other effective questions and you may have some of your own that have worked well but starting with these will help you to develop meaningful relationships with your teams. If you need a jump start yourself, explore our leadership training at

Written By

Mark Marone

Mark Marone, PhD. is the director of research and thought leadership for Dale Carnegie and Associates where he is responsible for ongoing research into current issues facing leaders, employees and organizations world-wide. He publishes frequently on various topics including leadership, the employee/customer experience and sales. Mark can be reached at

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