15 Questions Employees Will Not Ask But You Should Still Answer

Most are serious, a few are lighthearted. All touch on potentially sensitive areas. Over time, your team may feel comfortable enough to ask these questions. In the early days though, if you don’t answer these questions, they will not ask. Therefore, it is up to you to answer these questions, even when not asked, if you don’t want to leave them guessing…

15 Questions Employees Will Not Ask… But You Should Still Answer

Woman Peeks Through Torn Hole1. What are your priorities in life?

You are human and so are your employees. They want to know if you are a person of faith or not. Do you put family first or are you completely devoted to the job?

2. How should employees disagree with you?

Are you offended by public dissent or do you encourage diverse perspectives? Some leaders prefer the appearance of a completely unified front and ask that opposition be confidential.

3. By the book or write or a new script?

Do you insist on policy and procedural adherence or do you like people to find the solutions that work best for them?

4. Do you want feedback or obedience?

Are you interested in the perspectives your team members have on your performance or would you rather only receive feedback through formal channels like a 360 feedback system?

5. Is it okay to cheer for the other team?

Honestly, some people are obsessive about professional sports. Are you one who can’t stand people that cheer your sworn enemy?

6. What hours / days are off limits?

Is it the moment you leave the office, after 10 PM or when you finally go to sleep at 4 AM?

7. What will get me fired?

Your people have obligations and families to support. Often, new leadership means other personnel changes. They all want to know what it is that will cost them their job.

8. What will get me promoted?

With personnel changes, there may be vacancies. Many see these opportunities and want to take advantage. What will get someone promoted quickly?

9. What is your greatest fear (professionally)?

As the new leader, you will be perceived as somewhat invincible – at least that’s what the hiring team may think. Show your vulnerability and humility – at least a little.

10. How much is too much?

Communications, humor before the meeting, socializing in general, issue escalations – whatever. We all have our limits and preferred volumes. What is yours?

11. How do you feel about family at the office?

Tony Dungy always encourages family at the workplace – he even had video games and toys at his office for his own kids. Do you support a kid-friendly workplace?

12. Why did you really take this job?

Sure, there’s the reason most claim, but what is the reality? Did you need the money, want a notch in your resume, the prestige of the title or do you want to kick the  competition’s butt?

13. Why did you really leave your last job?

Again, everyone has the politically correct answer. Consider sharing the blunt reality to make yourself more human. Was your last boss a jerk?

14. If money was not a factor, what would you do every day?

Would you live on a beach or the mountains? Still work in for-profit or find something more altruistic?

15. Star Wars or Star Trek?

Maybe not everyone wonders this, but I recently read that ThinkGeek,com asks this interview question and I think it’s a great one to answer for your team.

Whether you are new to a leadership role and organization or not, these are questions your team may be thinking. Why not give the answer before they ask? You can create an “About Me” slide or Frequently Asked Questions list. The team will appreciate knowing more about you and revealing candid answers like this will make you more human and humble – approachable.

Question: What other questions do you think team members or followers consider of leaders?



Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

6 thoughts on “15 Questions Employees Will Not Ask But You Should Still Answer”

  1. Ben, I love this piece. I am a recruiting and team building sales manager and will include this in  my interviewing process now and will share it with others. – Jary Welker

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