End-of-year performance reviews are almost here. For leaders, these annual reviews allow time to discuss employees’ achievements, strengths and areas to develop. Whether you find them helpful for your team or you do them because they’re required, you can maximize these conversations by asking your direct reports to review you.

Not only can this give you actionable and valuable feedback, but it can also help build trust with your employees. Claire Lew, CEO of Know Your Team, says leaders should ask for feedback from their teams throughout the year—not just during formal reviews.

Wondering what to ask your direct reports? Read on. We share Lew’s suggestions in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. What should I start, stop or continue doing? Lew calls this a “catch-all” question because it encourages employees to think along several different avenues. It opens the doors to conversations about things your team members appreciate about your leadership style as well as things that aren’t working well. You might also glean insight into what your direct reports need from you that you aren’t currently providing.

2. What can I improve about my communication? If your team members aren’t receiving clear communication from you, it’s hard for your team to be successful. Asking this question allows you to get information on how well you are communicating quotas, ideas and direction to your team. Remember that communication is at the heart of leadership, notes Lew.

3. What more can I be doing to help you navigate uncertainty? Lew recommends asking this question during performance reviews because leaders should strive to be “sense makers.” Listening to your employees’ responses to this question can help you understand how well you are communicating the way forward for your team.

4. How well have I been following through on the things I’ve promised? Keeping your commitments is one of the best ways to build trust in your team, notes Lew. You should ask this question during performance reviews to get a gauge on how much your employees feel like they can depend on you.

5. What are the things I’ve done that were particularly helpful or unhelpful? According to Lew, this question is a great one to ask because it focuses on the value of the action, rather than on the implied judgment of the person who took the action. The phrasing may help your team members be more forthcoming with constructive feedback.

The best leaders don’t just give feedback but ask for it too. They know there’s always room for improvement and always something to learn. If you manage a team, your direct reports are often the best ones to share their feedback. They work with you every day and experience your strengths and shortcomings first-hand. If you’re planning your year-end performance reviews, try incorporating some of the questions above. What you learn can help you become a better leader.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Claire Lew is CEO of Know Your Team.