"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."
~ Albert Einstein
While I often share the idea of three - seven questions to ask in certain situations, yesterday, with three different colleagues/clients, the topic of ineffective work performance was broached. When I am asked what to do/say, my mind thinks what not to do/say, as often as leaders, we tell people what we want, when we want it, and think that is interactive somehow.
Instead, an effective and revealing approach is to ask four questions of the under-performer:
1. What is going well?
2. What would you like to improve?
You have seen these first two questions many times before, and they are timeless and true, so, here are the new ones:
3. What is getting/standing in the way of you getting where you want to be/do/have?
4. As your leader, what can I do to assist you, break down any barriers, guide you, etc.?
Leave it up to them to share and communicate after you facilitate open communication. For as a leader, your role is to meet your team members where they are, and lead them where they are willing and able to go. Those four questions will uncover (or reinforce) the willing and likely the able, parts for you!