The best way to build the kind of organizational knowledge that can change a company’s culture, team morale, high-performing productivity levels, and overall employee engagement is through check-in meetings that are timely, relevant, and thorough.
After 1:1s, team meetings are the second most important thing on any mangers calendar. Team meetings give the team a chance to agree on goals, deal with problems, get feedback, and build trust with each other.
But team meetings can get boring if they always do the same things. This is why it’s so important to put new questions on the agenda for your team meeting. And it’s not enough to just talk about work.
Team meetings are a great time to talk about goals and work that needs to be done, but they are also a great way to get to know each other better. This can be done by asking team-building and icebreaker questions from time to time and by encouraging people to share their feedback. Now that many companies have switched to hybrid and remote models, it’s more important than ever to make time to connect with the people we work with every day.
Table of contents
- How do you come up with great team meeting questions?
- How to encourage constructive feedback sharing during team meetings
- Top 10 questions for team meetings in 2023
- 1. What’s our biggest challenge as a team?
- 2. What takes up most of our time each week?
- 3. When’s the best time to give feedback on your work?
- 4. How can we improve the way our team works together?
- 5. As a team, is there anything we should START doing?
- 6. As a team, is there anything we should STOP doing?
- 7. What are the biggest things that hold us back from doing our best?
- 8. How can I better support you?
- 9. What are you LEAST clear about—in terms of our strategy and goals?
- 10. Who deserves a shoutout? What did they do?
How do you come up with great team meeting questions?
Trust us, we know. It is exhausting and time-consuming to come up with creative questions for team meetings, especially when you have a million other things on your plate. So, before your next team sync, consider these two methods for brainstorming productive meeting questions:
1. Take advantage of helpful resources
Given that you’re reading this page, you’re already well on your way to utilizing all the available resources! In addition to the ten questions provided here, we also have a growing collection of over 100 blogs on how you can engage your team’s productivity as well as better design a sales funnel. If you’re interested, you can visit here.
2. Encourage your team to participate in meetings
Asking your employees to come up with meeting questions is another effective strategy. One hundred times more efficient with a shared agenda. Instead of making it clear that the meeting is all about you, you might encourage team members to come prepared with their own questions, concerns, and ideas. Giving your team members time to speak up during meetings will make them feel heard and will relieve you of some responsibility once a week. It’s a win-win situation.
And naturally, certain questions are asked far more frequently than others. For instance:
- How much time are tech workers spending in meetings per week?
- What are the updates on the project the sales team is working on?
- Did the sales plan got reviewed by the finance team?
How to encourage constructive feedback sharing during team meetings
We all love positive vibes but at the same time, we need to be realistic. You need to make your employees understand that feedback is not something bad. Rather it’s showing them room for further improvement. That’s why it’s so important to give and receive feedback that is helpful. But if your team doesn’t have a lot of psychological safety, it will be hard to get any useful feedback. Here are my two best “hacks” for getting this done with my team:
A. Use vulnerable leadership.
It’s always a good idea to lead by example. It’s important for leaders who want to practice vulnerable leadership to know that being vulnerable doesn’t mean they have to tell their whole life story. There is no need for waterworks. Instead, vulnerable leadership is all about knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are and being open enough, to be honest with yourself and your team about them.
B. Sign the “lettuce pact” with your team.
The “lettuce pact” is based on Kim Scott’s book, “Radical Candor,” and is meant to make sure that everyone on your team understands that feedback should be given with good intentions. Of course, how feedback is given is important, but it also helps the person receiving it to understand why it was given, especially when it is constructive feedback.
Top 10 questions for team meetings in 2023
Now, let’s move on to the most important part of this article.
Do you ever ask your coworkers what they’re talking about in their team meetings? What questions help encourage meaningful and productive conversations? What are the best questions to help people give honest feedback and get to know each other?
Every year, thousands of managers use Tackle to run their team meetings. We’ll talk about the top 10 questions for team meetings and why you might want to ask them (if you haven’t already)!
1. What’s our biggest challenge as a team?
This is one of the most-asked questions in team meetings. It must be done.
This is because, as leaders, we only know about 4–9% of the problems our employees are facing. As you move up in the organization, that number goes down.
This idea is called the “iceberg of ignorance.” It says, “Only 4% of an organization’s front-line problems are known by top management, 9% by middle management, 74% by supervisors, and 100% by employees.”
When we don’t understand the problems that slow down our team, it can lead to a lot of frustration and confusion about how to measure success on the team.
So, what’s the best way to find out what’s wrong?
It’s simple: just ask.
2. What takes up most of our time each week?
You should ask your team this question because it’s important to know what’s working and what’s not. Going back to the Iceberg of Ignorance we just talked about, managers can lose track of the day-to-day work. Whether it’s a meeting or a process that the team doesn’t like, it’s important to give them a chance to talk about how frustrated they are.
When you ask this question, people will usually give you good feedback and point out inefficient processes that might not come up on their own. When you give people a chance to talk about how to make things better, you can improve existing processes, deal with problems that keep coming up, and give your team the tools they need to do great work.
You’ll never know everything that’s going on with your team, but if you can talk about the big things every now and then, you’ll at least be able to help them with some of the problems they face.
3. When’s the best time to give feedback on your work?
This is a great question to ask your team because timing is everything when it comes to feedback. Nothing is worse than finishing a project only to get feedback from your manager on the most important parts and having to start over. What a waste of time for everyone!
Your team may only need to share feedback in the right place and at the right time for it to work. What works for you might not work for other people on the team or make sense for how certain projects are put together. At Hypercontext, we swear by the 10-50-99 feedback framework, which is not a one-size-fits-all answer. After you ask this question at your team meeting, you might want to suggest and try out this feedback framework with your team.
4. How can we improve the way our team works together?
This question is another great way to get your team to give you useful feedback. Whether you’re working toward the wrong goals or have inefficient processes or meetings, getting direct feedback from the team will help you be more productive.
On the other hand, asking this question also gives people a chance to explain more about why things are done a certain way. If you say, “Because that’s how we’ve always done it,” you’ll be able to talk about ways to improve the process. But if there are good reasons for those choices, it gives the team all the information they need and cuts down on misunderstandings and guesses.
You shouldn’t ask this question every time you meet, but at least once a quarter is a good place to start!
5. As a team, is there anything we should START doing?
If you’ve heard of the start, stop, and continue team retrospective method, this one is clear. Most people make this way too hard to understand… just ask your team if we should start doing anything (or try doing). This gives your team a chance to let out their frustrations and F.U.D.
When you ask your team what you should start doing, you can get a lot of ideas. There are a lot of exciting possibilities, but here are a few:
– Think of new ways to reach your goals more quickly: Setting goals shouldn’t just be up to the manager. Instead, it should be a group effort that takes ideas from everyone on the team. Not only will this give everyone on the team a stronger sense of ownership, but you’ll also get more ideas into the planning process. Not only that, but you’ve probably hired experts in different areas to be on the team, so the different points of view will help you make a better plan for the next quarter and year.
– Chances to improve processes: I know we’ve talked a lot about processes, but with all the new technology out there, it’s getting easier and easier to automate tasks and scale without adding more people. This also seems like a less harsh way for team members to give each other constructive feedback, since “starting” isn’t as harsh as “what should we improve?” The change in wording could make people more likely to share their ideas when they might not have done so before.
6. As a team, is there anything we should STOP doing?
The other side of question #5 comes right after it. This is the other 33.3% of the start, stop, and continue team retrospective technique. The best thing about STOP is that you don’t need money or unplanned work to win.
7. What are the biggest things that hold us back from doing our best?
Leverage is one of the most important tools a manager can use. If we can get rid of just one step in a process that wastes the team’s time, we can make a huge amount of progress. This is what Brad Feld calls the 2% change. For this 2% change, small changes need to be made. Here are some examples :
- Raise your prices by 2%
- Eliminate 2% of variable costs
- Reduce time in meetings by 2%
- Increase employee engagement scores on the team by 2%
8. How can I better support you?
This question and #7 both seem to be asking the same thing: What can the manager do differently to make the team more productive? In the first case, the question was about getting rid of anything that was slowing down the team. In this case, the question is a bit more personal. Don’t expect people to talk right away… let the conversation go for a little while.
9. What are you LEAST clear about—in terms of our strategy and goals?
Alignment is a must for any team that wants to do well. That doesn’t just happen when the team sets great goals and runs with them. Instead, alignment comes from sharing more information about the goals and the decisions that led to them and going over these goals every week as a team.
10. Who deserves a shoutout? What did they do?
A recent study found that 37% of employees said they would do better work more often if they were recognized for it. Do you want to know an easy way to get people to work harder? Have a regular topic at your team meeting where people can shout out to each other. Sometimes, they may even yell at you… Feels good, eh?