The Manager by Designsm blog advocates for a new field called “Management Design”, in which managers engage in solid people and team management practices by design, rather than by accident. An example the poor management design experienced today is that managers typically do not have very good channels for receiving performance feedback on their management skills.
I’ve recently explored how managers typically get feedback on their management skills:
In none of these channels do managers receive feedback that is specific and immediate on their management actions, and as discussed in this blog, the more specific and immediate the feedback, the more artful the feedback is. The more artful the feedback, the better the performance. So the corollary is, the less artful the feedback, the worst the performance. And managers have a spotty track record of performance.
This is the latest in a series of posts that identify where managers get feedback on being a manager. I’ve explored quitting employees, attrition rates and management surveys, and I’ve come to the conclusion that none of these give specific and immediate feedback to the managers on how they manage. OK, so how about the manager’s manager? That surely is a place where managers get feedback on how they are doing, right? After all, this blog discusses — nay obsesses over — how it is a manager’s role to provide feedback to their employees on how they are doing in their job. It logically follows that a manager who manages a manager should give feedback on how well their employee is doing as a manager.
Well, let’s see how likely this is to occur
1. Managers tend to reinforce the behaviors that got them promoted
This is the latest in a series of blog posts exploring how managers currently obtain feedback on their performance as people managers. Employees would seem to have a lot of opinions and ideas for managers in this area. The questions is – how do employees give feedback to a manager? Previously, I explored the most common ways for managers to get feedback from their employees: “voting with your feet” and “tracking attrition rates.” I conclude that these don’t constitute performance feedback, because they are vague and delayed, rather than specific and immediate.
OK, so how about management surveys and 360 degree feedback?
Let’s take a look on how well these provide feedback to a manager.
Management Surveys: This is when an organization sends a survey to a manager’s employees (both direct reports and extended team) to rate the manager on a scale (say, 1 to 5) in relation to different areas a manager should have an impact. You may find survey items such as:
“My manager creates an atmosphere of trust”
“My manager listens to my ideas”
“My manager communicates the organization strategy well”
In an article last week, I started a series on how managers receive feedback on their own performance. Most managers don’t actively solicit performance feedback, let alone from their employees, and as a result, the default moment that a manager receives feedback as a manager is when someone quits. As performance feedback, it fails. But what about when a bunch of people quit over a period of time? That has to say something about a manager, doesn’t it?
It does! But there are problems, and as a design for getting information to the manager so that they can change their behaviors, it fails. Here’s why:
Attrition rates = slow, lagging data: Many companies’ HR departments will track attrition rates for managers or divisions within the company. They may even divide attrition between “good attrition” (lower performing or problematic employees who leave) and “bad attrition” (high performing employees who leave). This is excellent information, since it can give visibility to the HR department and the management team where the best and worst rates are in the organization. They can then do a study to identify what is being done in the “high good attrition/low bad attrition” areas, and vice versa. Then they can identify the teams and organizations that are having the most problems, and then work on finding ways to change the behaviors, and try to implement a program that improves the areas where the bad attrition is the highest and good attrition is the lowest. Then they can measure the new “good and bad” attrition rates and see if there has been improvement. . .
The Manager by Designsm blog advocates a new field, “Management Design” that encourages the creation and ongoing improvement of managers by design, rather than by accident. Today’s “designs” are usually a series of accidents and default efforts by individuals who have been put in the position to manage. Too frequently, managers are required to make up their own management practices, and these practices end up being highly variable and often result in common management mistakes and cost a lot to organizations and the economy.
One practice that rarely occurs when a manager is left to his or her own devices to develop management practices is the creation of a method for employees to provide feedback to the manager. The result is a series of default methods that managers use to get feedback on their managerial performance. This is the first in a series of blog entries on how managers receive feedback on their performance.
It is important that managers receive performance feedback on how they manage, as performance feedback provides the most immediate means for managers to change what they are doing for the better. Performance feedback can stop bad behaviors quickly, and encourage good behaviors over the long term. Because of this, the Manager by Designsm blog provides many tips on how to provide performance feedback to an employee, as this is a key skill in being a great manager.
But who provides the feedback to the manager? And who would be able to provide feedback on the effectiveness of a manager’s actions than the manager’s employees? Aren’t the employees receiving the “managerial service” from the managers to help them be more productive and be happier in their role?
However, there aren’t many channels for employees to give feedback to their manager.
In today’s discussion, we’ll explore a common way managers receive feedback on their management: The employee who leaves, also colloquially known as “voting with your feet.” How effective is this at providing feedback to a manager? Let’s see: Read more