Believe it or not, a question that is seemingly helpful can be really paralysing.

I read the intro to Inc's article about management and didn't quite believe that asking, 'How can I help you?' could be in any way damaging. It's an offer of support, right? But it's so open-ended.

There may be much better ways to get the information you're actually looking for -- which is, 'How can I improve my behaviours and actions as a manager to help you do better?'

That's a little daunting to put to someone, so the article suggests ways you can pick an angle or detail  that will facilitate a productive chat. To really get the best feedback, your people might need a little nudge and a safe space where it's OK to give you the gift of criticism.