In order to bring you the most accurate and useful information possible, Employee Selection and Development, Inc. will be issuing PRACTICAL RESEARCH REPORTS quarterly. Its purpose is to give you practical and useful information on hiring, motivating, and managing employees. Should you have any questions or want further elaboration, please contact us by email or call 800-947-5678.

Bert Zinkand
Director

PRACTICAL RESEARCH REPORT #22 The Need for Constructive Feedback

All too often, managers have the best intentions and think that they are doing things right. Direct reports and peers do not tell them anything is wrong so they assume that their management policies and ways of doing business are functioning properly and all is well. Unfortunately, in an era of I’m Ok; You’re OK, people don’t want to tell others there is a problem. Often, they are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or of retribution. Without a mechanism to allow employees, peers, customers and managers to provide constructive feedback, we can operate in the vacuum and small problems grow into large ones.

There is a way to get anonymous constructive feedback to help us all become better managers. It is called Assess 360 and it provides constructive feedback on the competencies of getting a job done. Here is an excerpt of a 360 Survey Report showing how she, her manager, peers and direct reports provided constructive feedback on the job competency of Managing Others. Also included is one the recommendations provided by the Assess 360 Survey competency development library.

 

Strongly Disagree =   …   Strongly Agree = 5

Managing Others

Directing and leading others to accomplish organizational goals and objectives.

People who display this competency effectively manage and direct the activities of others. They work through other people to accomplish objectives, and they encourage performance through motivation and feedback. They hold people accountable.

 

Competency Score

Group

1

2

3

   4

5

Score

All

pr22_clip_image001.jpg

2.91

Self

pr22_clip_image002.jpg

2.88

Boss

pr22_clip_image003.jpg

2.88

Peer

pr22_clip_image004.jpg

2.75

DirRpt

pr22_clip_image005.jpg

2.75

Other

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3.25

Behavior Strengths and Weaknesses
(+ = mean rating above 3.75)    (- = mean rating below 2.25)

Self

Boss

Peer

DirRpt

Other

All

1. Has a desire to lead or direct others and exerts the effort to do so

-

-

+

+

 

 

2. Inspires others to perform by setting a good example of hard work and a willingness to extend him/herself to meet objectives

+

+

 

 

 

 

3. Knows the strengths and weaknesses of each of the members of his/her group

+

+

 

 

 

 

4. Sensibly delegates and assigns tasks to others according to their capacities

 

 

-

-

+

 

5. Is fair and objective and does not play favorites

 

 

-

-

+

 

6. Educates, trains and otherwise prepares his/her people to be effective in their jobs

-

-

+

+

 

 

7. Holds others accountable for results and responsibly councils, reprimands or takes other necessary action when others do not perform at the level of their capability

-

-

-

-

+

-

8. Assumes personal responsibility for the success or failure of his/her group, collectively and individually.

 

 

 

 

-

 

DEVELOPMENT SUGGESTIONS Suzanne Sample
8/10/2005

Managing Others

Assigning work to others and telling them what to do is not the same as effectively managing them. Managing others requires a set of people skills that, when combined with a strong sense of integrity and professionalism, allows you to work through other people to accomplish objectives. As a manager, you must encourage performance through motivation and feedback and also hold people accountable.

As you might guess, it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive primer in just a few pages. Many books have been written on this topic. Here, we try to provide you a general overview of the most important issues:

Demonstrate Strength of Character

Personal strength of character is one of the most important competencies of management. A manager must possess a sense of personal responsibility and accountability. Develop your own personal code of conduct and adhere to it at all times. Doing so will inspire and motivate others to do their personal best. Your list should look something like this:

  • Maintain integrity and be above reproach in all you do
  • Always keep your word
  • Do not gossip or say things about people that you would not say to them directly
  • Praise in public, criticize in private
  • Admit your mistakes and be accountable for your actions

Develop and Share Your Expertise

The best managers continually expand their knowledge and grow their skill set so that they increase their contribution to the organization. In turn, they share this knowledge and expertise with peers and subordinates to help them move the business forward.

  • Take the time to become thoroughly knowledgeable about your organization and the business it is in. Attend briefings and presentations by others in the company. Read information published by your organization such as an annual report.
  • Stay current by reading your industry’s trade journals; maintain a network within and outside your organization to anticipate and be aware of new trends.
  • Stay current with new technologies.
  • If you have an area of technical expertise, read and take occasional courses to maintain those skills.
  • Share your knowledge and expertise with others in ways that will help everyone achieve their business objectives.

Traits of a Good Manager

  1. Behaves with personal integrity and professionalism
  2. Displays a positive attitude and works hard
  3. Organizes work schedules and assignments
  4. Stays current with knowledge of the business and the way the group may be affected and keeps people informed
  5. Explains actions and decisions, lets people know about changes
  6. Listens to the input of subordinates and encourages their involvement
  7. Disciplines poor performance and rewards good performance
  8. Is consistent and fair with all subordinates
  9. Coaches and develops all subordinates

Build Your Team

  • Hire competent people. As a manager, take your responsibility for hiring motivated and competent people very seriously. Otherwise, you will weaken the overall team. If you have not done so, take a course, read a book, or have a discussion with a human resources professional about best practices for hiring. Make a commitment to following these best practices no matter how busy you are.
  • Foster a sense of community. Encourage people to help each other. Talk in terms of “we.” Doing things together like going for lunch can also contribute to a sense of team.
  • Empower people. The old model of a command-and-control manager is outdated. In today’s workplace, a more successful model is to share information, prepare people well, and then turn responsibility over to them.
  • Educate, train and equip people to be effective in their jobs. Even if you work in a large organization with a training department, it is your responsibility to ensure that your subordinates are properly equipped.
  • Set a good example. By your own actions and attitude, set a positive and optimistic tone in your workgroup. Be willing to work hard to achieve objectives.

Encourage Open Communication

  • Clearly articulate your expectations for the group and for each member of the group. Encourage people to ask for clarification when they are uncertain.
  • Keep people informed. Communicate openly and honestly about upcoming events, trends, or changes that will impact your workgroup or organization. If you do not know the answer to something, say so, then try to find the answer. Do not allow rumors or gossip to be the source of information for your workgroup.
  • Foster an environment where people feel free to share ideas. This may be as simple as taking time to listen when your subordinates make suggestions or creating formal mechanisms such as suggestion programs or brainstorming sessions. Remember, a quick dismissal of an idea or excessive criticism may discourage future suggestions and creativity.
  • Be available. Maintain an open-door policy, but do not expect people to seek you out. Make a point to interact with each of your people on a regular basis.

Plan and Organize

  • Plan the work of your group. Consider all that must be accomplished, the various deadlines or timeframes to be met, and the work steps required. Prioritize the work by importance, deadline and by consideration of critical tasks that must be accomplished before other tasks can begin.
  • Establish task and work-step schedules and deadlines.
  • Delegate work sensibly, considering the capabilities of each of the members of your group.
  • Check progress against the plan frequently enough to recognize problems early.

Challenge and Develop Others

  • Set high expectations for each of your people. If you expect mediocre performance, that is what you will get!
  • Know your people. Learn their strengths and weaknesses, their likes and dislikes, and what they wish to achieve. To the extent that you can, take this information into account when assigning work or special projects.
  • Recognize good performance. Make a point of saying someone has done good work when they have, and make some of this praise public. Consistently superior performance should be rewarded with pay raises, promotions, etc.
  • When a subordinate’s job performance falls below expectations, give clear, unambiguous feedback and improvement guidance. Do this in private and with tact, but do not avoid this responsibility. Do this early and regularly (if necessary). Do not wait for the annual performance review.
  • Coach others to grow. As a manager, you have a responsibility to help your subordinates grow and develop. Consider this a long-term investment in the future success of your group.

Obviously, effectively managing others is not an easy task. You must develop skills in many areas in order to be successful. The best managers we know are those who understand that management is all about people. They work hard at being good managers and keep honing their skills. Do not be discouraged if you cannot master all these skills simultaneously. Persist in your efforts and you will get there!

When Disciplining Subordinates, Keep the Following In Mind:

  • Give ample warning.
  • Be fair and impartial. Hold everyone to the same standards and expectations.
  • Be consistent. Do not ignore things one day but punish for the same things the next.
  • Focus on the facts; avoid personal attributions, gossip and emotions.

Books

First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently (1999) Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman.

Managing for Excellence: The Leadership Guide to Developing High Performance in Contemporary Organizations (1997) David L. Bradford, Allan R. Cohen.

Managing Assertively: How to Improve Your People Skills: A Self-Teaching Guide (1995) Madelyn Burley-Allen.

Harvard Business Review on Managing People (1999) Harvard Business Review Paperback Series.

Becoming a Successful Manager : How to Make a Smooth Transition from Managing Yourself to Managing Others (2001) Jack H. Grossman, J. Robert Parkinson.

Becoming a Manager: Mastery of a New Identity (1993) Linda A. Hill.

Harvard Business Review on Breakthrough Leadership (2002) Dan Goleman, et. al..

Multimedia

Managing Performance: Establishing a Performance Plan ThompsonNETg.

How to Supervise People Fred Pryor Seminars.

Performance Matter: The Need for Constructive Criticism Advanced Training Source.

Influencing and Motivating Others Harvard Business School Publishing.

Managing Direct Reports Harvard Business Online.

Leadership Development: Leading the Way Thompson NETg.

Leading from the Inside Harvard Business Online.

The Encouraging Manager Advanced Training Source.

  On-line Learning

Successfully Managing People York University .

Succeeding as a First-Time Manager: Lead and Develop Your Staff CareerTrack.

Strategies for Managing Technical Professionals York University – Schulich School of Business.

Managing People/Managing Others INSEAD.

Managing in the New Organization Harvard Business School Press.

Managing for Creativity and Innovation Harvard Business Online.

Managing Direct Reports Havard Business Online.

Managing Across Difference Harvard Business School Publishing.

Management/Leadership Skills Algonquin College.

  If this information is of interest to you, please call us at 800-947-5678 and we can discuss it in more detail. We offer 360 surveys on five levels of management and individual contributors. We also have a competency library of 38 competency models that can customized to your positions.