Employees should be regularly surveyed about their managers with specific questions. The questions fall into three general categories: nurturing growth in others, operating excellence, and emotional intelligence, all intended to discern the strength of a manager.
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- “I would recommend my manager to others”: If the employee states “no”, it means as a leader you must win employees’ heads and hearts.
- “My manager assigns stretch opportunities to help me develop my career” : This requires you to care about your employees’ careers as much as you care about your own. Find out what they aspire to (what they actually want, not just what they’re supposed to want), discuss what realistically has to happen to get them there, and then leverage your network to help make things happen for them.
- “My manager communicates clear goals”: These goals should meet the three C’s rule: common, compelling, and cooperative.
- “My manager regularly gives me actionable feedback”: Ensure the feedback is specific and sincere (if it comes from the heart, it sticks in the mind). Be calibrating, letting them know that their feedback is “not unusual at this point” or that it means “you’re off track at this point.” Don’t overstate or understate the impact of the outcome you are praising or pushing on. The truth is nothing is more appreciated by employees than leaders who do this well.
- “My manager provides the autonomy I need to do my job (doesn’t micromanage)”: Manage by objective, give decision space and room for the empowered to operate without interference and oversight.
- “My manager consistently shows consideration for me as a person”: People need to know you care before they care about what you know.
- “My manager keeps the team focused on priorities, even when it’s difficult”: The easy thing is to do everything. Nothing burns out an organization faster than a leader treating everything as a priority and choices as something left for someone else.
- “My manager makes tough decisions effectively”: Indecision is paralyzing to an organization. It creates doubt, uncertainty, lack of focus, and even resentment. Multiple options can linger, sapping an organization’s energy and killing a sense of completion. Timelines stretch while costs skyrocket.
- “My manager shares relevant information from his or her boss(es)”: Information should flow downhill.. Managers who withhold information to boost their own sense of control and power will soon be met with an organization that feels out of control and powerless.
- “My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about my career development in the past six months”: Think of how you’d feel if you knew you were working for someone who viewed ”self” as your career champion.
- “My manager has the expertise required to effectively manage me”: Stay worthy of leadership by investing in your own continued learning and personal growth that feeds your specific area of expertise required.
- “The actions of my manager show he or she values my perspective (even if different from his or hers)”: Everyone wants to know they are heard, to feel valued and valuable. There are no exceptions.
- “My manager effectively collaborates across boundaries”: Utilize all resources.
One of the best legacies you can leave with your team is to be “that leader.” That leader who cared enough their employees to talk straight and with humility to address specific behaviors that are getting in their way.