I have been a boss for quite some time. I always wanted to know exactly what my team thought about me… Was I a good boss? I was consulting a client and he was asking the same question. I thought why not help out. It could be fun…
Where I worked for most of my adult life, we had a series of questions our employees used to answer – anonymously. They were centered on the managers ability to communicate, lead, performance management and career development. I really never thought that this survey was very useful. I would get my feedback… I would work with my team to address any areas that needed to be worked on. In the end, I just never felt like the feedback was what truly the people were thinking.
For my client, I decided to take a different approach to getting feedback. I decided to hold a series of one on ones with each of his staff and then some skip level ones to folks in his organization. I told those folks that I was talking to – that I was here to help put together some training material for XX. Your input is greatly needed to help me, help XX. I went in with some basic questions area communication, leadership and follow-up. Gathered the positives and potential areas for improvement. At the end, I asked them all – if you had one thing XX could do better on that is important to you – what would it be?
I don’t think, in the end, I got what I really wanted. I got plenty of the standard answers on just about everything. There is always room for improvement on communication… For the most part, they had some small things to work on. When I got to that last question about the silver bullet that was important to them.. Well, it got good!
The general themes were…
- Plays favorites with some of the employees. Some felt slighted that only the “good” projects went to certain few. Planned or not, that is something that was noticed and important to quite a few folks.
- Only wants to hear agreement. Changes were made. People expressed concern and discussed possible failure points, but they charged ahead anyways. The change – failed. Studies show that when projects fail, about 70% of the time, the teams involved knew before it started, it was going to fail.
It made me wonder what all of the teams I managed, what they thought if they had that one silver bullet, what they wanted me to do that was important to them..
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