If your company has recently started doing 360 reviews — where the managed offer feedback to the manager — you might be a little nervous. After all, even if it’s anonymous, isn’t it dangerous to review the boss?
(Photo Credit: Victor1558/Flickr)
It actually might be dangerous (or at least “dangerous”) not to. Why? Well, let’s look at one example. In a recent blog post, Greg Hoy, CEO of Happy Cog, wrote about his experiences being reviewed by his employees. In short, he was shocked:
“[The reviews] weren’t off-the-charts horrible (there were a few ‘best boss ever’ comments that gave me a Michael Scott kind of feeling), but there were way more ‘needs improvement’ marks that I ever anticipated. Because I anticipated none. And some of the comments people left was like chewing aluminum foil. My first reaction was surprise. Then defensiveness. Maybe a bit of anger. I thought things like, ‘Well, Steve Jobs had issues, but Apple turned out just fine. It’ll be ok, Greg. Grab a beer.”
What did we learn from Hoy’s experience (other than that he has a good sense of humor)?
1. Your boss doesn’t know what he’s doing wrong.
None of us can see the back of our own heads without a mirror. Your boss might be the best boss in the world, but he is still going to make mistakes.
2. Your boss doesn’t know what he’s doing right.
Sure, most companies have metrics on which they judge performance. This person has this many sales, and that person brought in that much revenue. But when it comes to determining why a person is successful (or not) it helps to know how they feel about their jobs and the people who help them do their jobs. Anonymous reviews, in particular, help managers learn what really motivates people, without having to worry that they’re currying favor with compliments.
3. It gives the boss a better understanding of what you go through.
It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re high on the food chain. As Hoy writes, “only by subjecting yourself to the same processes and protocols you impose on your colleagues will you truly understand how they impact them.”
4. Reviews remind managers and owners boss that we’re all in this together.
Hoy writes that his knee-jerk reaction was to say, “It’s my company!” But: “It’s not my company. It’s our company, whether I am employee one or employee 31. If I was on the other side of the fence, I’d be furious. Leadership requires understanding the landscape that you’re operating in and not steamrollering people or ideas in the process.”
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