When we’re in the zone, enthused and energized we can feel like Leo DiCaprio in Titanic “I’m the … King of the World!” We feel we can help our people, motivate them to be better at what they do. We want to share, make a positive difference in their attitude.  But what if they don’t want to hear it? What if they are way, far away from the zone when you are ready to communicate, motivate, jazz them up? How do you start bridging the gap?

You have to make it relevant. Make your words and actions relevant; make the work relevant – to them! If you don’t, no amount of training, motivating or cheerleading of your team is going to have a lasting impact. You make it relevant by uncovering what’s in it for them. A great start is to ask 3 powerful questions:

1. What are you excited about in your job right now? 

Tony Robbins talks about “pattern interrupts,” words or actions that jostle people and cause them to pay attention, snap out of their current pattern, even if for a moment.  It’s a powerful practice. I recently shared this practice with a customer service team I was training and it was very transformative. The reason for the question isn’t so much about the answer you get, though that, too, can be gold. It’s more about getting them to think about the question, getting them to focus on what’s working and opening communication between you.

2. What’s the biggest challenge you’re dealing with in your job right now?

This provides you with valuable information about your group, their training needs, their perspective, and is a great opportunity to show your support in a way that really matters to them here and now.

3. What do you need from me?

This one’s not always easy but it is essential. Great leaders care about facilitating, opening and building environments where people can flourish. How can you do that for your people if you don’t ask them what they need? How can you plan for your team’s success if you don’t know? Let them know you are part of the solution and willing to help.

Asking these questions will help you build an environment of trust, integrity and collaboration. They will help you, in time, to use your energy and enthusiasm to really motivate your people. And when you are not in the zone, then you can be truly courageous and ask these questions of yourself.

Give it a try!  Let us know how it goes.