Evaluating Your Management Skills: What Would Your Employees Say?


management skillsHow do you think your employees would evaluate your management skills? How do you think they would evaluate how you apply those management skills into practice? Do you think there would be a difference between what you understand as ‘management’ and what your employees understand as ‘management’?

In a recent research report by the CIPD ‘Employee Outlook’ they highlight a number of discrepancies between how managers say they are managing their employees and how those employees say they are being managed

How do these discrepancies arise? Might there be a difference between what you think you are doing, as a manager, and what your employees are experiencing?

Let’s take a look, using three examples from the report, and explore what’s happening

1. Meetings

50% of managers said they meet each employee on a weekly basis. Just 17% of employees said that happened. So, we’ve got 33% of the managers in this survey thinking they are having weekly meetings when – they’re not. How come?

My best guess would be that there’s a difference between what managers mean by ‘meeting’ and what employees mean.  For most staff a quick chat by the coffee machine on the lines of ‘how’s it going?’ does not constitute a meeting. Neither does (as one of my bosses used to do) inviting the employee into the office every day to ask the question ‘are we winning?’!

A short (maybe 15 minute) weekly discussion, in private, with the manager fully focused on the staff member, would, for most staff members, tick the box marked ‘meeting’

2. Feedback

Whilst 46% of managers said they always provided feedback on performance when they meet with their staff, only 17% of their staff agreed. So here we have 29% of the managers in this survey presumably giving feedback to their staff that isn’t being heard. Why?

Again, I guess it’s a difference in perception about what the management skills of ‘performance feedback’ are. ‘Nice work Bert, keep it up’, as a passing comment, is not what most employees expect performance feedback to be.  Neither is ‘it’s time to pull your finger out’ or ‘you need to get to grips with this’ or any other virtually meaningless comments.  For performance feedback to be effective (and perceived by our employee as performance feedback) it needs to be

  • Factual – based on observed behaviours not assumptions
  • Objective
  • Connected to results and consequences
  • Easy for the employee to understand and accept

(Read more on giving performance feedback HERE)

3. Praise and Recognition

63% of our managers in the survey said they gave praise and recognition in every meeting with their employees whilst only 19% of employees agreed. At the risk of being repetitive I’d guess those employees are simply not hearing the praise because the manager is not being specific enough about what they are praising or recognising and why. ‘Another good job Dibley’ is not the type of praise that most employees find useful

For praise and recognition to be effective it needs to be delivered using the same management skills we use for delivering performance feedback – factual, objective, connected to results and consequences and easy to understand

(Read more at ‘5 Ways to Give Praise’)

Management Skills Summary

It’s so easy to assume that we are using our management skills to effectively manage our employees, only to find that our employees don’t agree (believe me, I’ve been there!). So how can we get insights into how our employees view our management skills and how we use them?

A neat way is to ask our employees what I call the ‘golden question’

Is there anything I could do; more of, less of, or differently that would improve your job satisfaction?

Because, for example, if our employee says ‘yes I’d like more feedback’ then we know that the feedback we thought we were giving is (like the staff in our survey) is not being heard

(Read more on the golden question HERE)


2 Responses to Evaluating Your Management Skills: What Would Your Employees Say?

  1. Good piece Joan and also a question that is commonly asked in job interviews too so there is real value in managers having ths insight.

  2. joanhenshaw says:

    Many thanks Duncan and great point about job interviews!

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