As a leader, it’s your job to help motivate, engage, and coach your people. And to do this, you need to have ongoing conversations with each member of your team to learn more about what makes them tick–and what ticks them off. This can be easy and rewarding when you’re working with a direct report who is open, easy to talk to, and readily shares their thoughts and feelings. But when you have a member of your team who tends to respond to your inquiries with “I’m good,” “I don’t know,” or just a shrug, it can make connecting with them tricky.

So, what do you do when you want to learn more about someone who doesn’t seem to be meeting you half way? One common approach is to get more assertive and push for responses that don’t seem to be forthcoming. But saying things like, “What do you mean, ‘I don’t know’?” or “Just good? Come on!” can contribute to your employee shutting down even more.

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