Dear Dr. Mimi: Caring Newbie

Dear Dr. Mimi:

I am a new manager promoted to supervise a different division of our organization. I would like to get to know my new employees better and learn what I can do to make their working hours more enjoyable and productive. How can I do that? Are there questions that I can ask?
—Caring Newbie

Dear Caring Newbie:

Start by asking them to tell you about their job. What do they do? What takes the most time? What do they enjoy most? What is their least favorite part of their job? What do they wish they did not have to do? Then move into questions about moving forward. What would help you to get more done in less time? How can I, as a manager, help you? What improvements would you like to see for the department? What changes would you like to see implemented? If they ask for something outlandish, ask, given the realistic constraints, how they would make it happen. Be sure to listen and take notes and get back to them on the progress of their suggestions. Hearing that something can’t be implemented is better than not hearing back at all!
—Dr. Mimi