Ask the right questions


You've started to build trust with your manager and your team. You're punctual, you spend your time wisely, and you're rested. But what now? Think about how you deliver your work. Don't presume to know what and how something should be delivered. Ask, but ask in a smart way.

As you set out to deliver your work, it's important to think along the following dimensions:

  • What should be delivered? It's important that everyone is in agreement on what should be delivered. To determine this, you often need to ask clarifying questions.
  • What parts are important? You want to understand what part of your work is extra important and what is less important. Therefore, you might need to ask questions to know more about the domain you are working in.
  • Give credit to others: There are more people than just you involved in delivering something. Ensure that your teammates are given due credit for their involvement in a project or delivery.
  • Deliver a better project: When you need to deliver a project, aim to seek the advice and feedback of as many differing type of voices as possible. It will make your project better and, if you're targeting a global audience, it's a must.

Ask for clarification

Have you ever had something explained to you with terms such as "simply" or "just"? How did that make you feel? Watch for reductive words like this when your colleagues are explaining something. Often, it means they are glossing over what they consider to be "common knowledge,"' but it might be something deeper: a lack of knowledge.

If you're afraid of being annoying, don't be. This is your moment to get clarifications, although you should always try to find the answer yourself before asking for help. You have the power to ask for clarifications when you feel something is unclear. Common knowledge isn't common if it hasn't yet arrived for the interns, and acronyms are probably confusing for other people and yourself.

Take credit and give credit

You want to be seen as a team player, but this doesn't mean that you can't take credit for your work. Cultivate collaborative skills as you are assigned projects or volunteer for tasks.

Keep track of your contributions and your impact as an employee. This can come in handy for one-on-one meetings with both colleagues and managers and will give you a good idea of your progression.

Communicate with your manager so that they understand the role that you played in delivering it. Lift up your colleagues, as well: teamwork makes the dream work!

Ask why, not how

When you ask questions, be sure to ask not only how to do something, but why it's important to do it. Having this context will let you learn how the business operates and understand its underlying values. Always keep in mind that your questions will help you deepen your technical skills and your domain expertise, both of which you'll use throughout your evolving career path.

Deliver better

If you look around and realize that everyone around you looks like you, you need to expand your horizons.

Scenario: If you're working on a service and it has a global audience, then you need a global perspective. What you want is different perspectives from your own that might challenge your own assumptions.


Look for teams with diverse people and try to collaborate with them. Coworkers who come from different backgrounds than yours and with different perspectives will challenge your preconceptions and biases and show you different approaches and techniques to solving problems.


You should limit your questions to your peers as an employee.