What do they really think of you?

Feb 18 2008 by Print This Article

As a manager, are you aware of what employees are saying about you? According to this piece over at Ask a Manager most bosses answer "no" to that question - which could be a serious problem.

The solution – and it's a great one – is to ask managerial job candidates what complaints they think the people you've managed have had about them. The results of this question are disturbing in that they show most are deaf and blind to what their employees say about them.

As the author of the article writes, "it indicates anything from lack of self-insight to insufficient engagement with employees to simply not caring what employees think." Even more puzzling are the managers who try to answer in a way that they think they should, rather than honestly.

This goes a long way toward proving a shocking number of bosses are not taking the time to listen to how they could improve. It also shows a remarkable lack of insight into how they manage. It raises the question, how can you truly lead effectively, if you don't communicate with your employees? Finally, it also helps explain why so many bosses are considered incompetent.

As for "Ask a Manager" and what he is looking for when he asks that question, he writes, "an honest response and a discussion of it. For instance, if someone says he's too gruff at times, I want to hear what he thinks of that -- what's the impact, does he think it's a problem, is he doing anything to alter it…some answers definitely would be big red flags -- such as an inability to talk to employees about problems."

So, if you have people who report to you, it may be beneficial to them as well as yourself to ask them how they think you're doing. It can allow you to grow as a manager and greatly improve the working conditions of your employees.