Evaluate your manager

May 17, 2010

I have been working as a writer/editor for a decade but have still to fill up a review form for a supervisor.

While employee performance reviews are all too common (regardless of their questionable need and applicability), the reverse review where a subordinate can provide honest feedback to a supervisor aren’t.

I’m not sure why managers wouldn’t want their employees telling them what they’re doing well and how they can improve their managerial style to help support their staff better.

In my post “Performance Reviews Don’t Suck,” I had said that the annual tradition may be of great use to the individual concerned, giving them a yardstick to measure their accomplishments and set them on the right trajectory for the future.

The same holds true for managers.

In fact, managers are in an enviable position — they not only have the advantage of a self-review and one given to them by their supervisor, but can also benefit from their staff’s unabridged, candid evaluation.

Why not make the most of it?

Why not ask your employees if they want more training opportunities, or if you’re being a good mentor?

Why not provide your employees a platform from where they can tell you if they are satisfied with your communication skills?

I guess some employees wouldn’t feel comfortable reviewing their managers either — fearing backlash if they said anything critical.

But if an organization truly wants to have better internal communication, leading to a stronger team that provides improved external deliverables, it is critical that there be two-way communication.

It’s a powerful tool that can go a long way in establishing trust.

It may be hard to implement when a person manages more than five people, but for smaller teams, I think upward appraisal is crucial.

A true 360-degree review, that involves self- and supervisor-reviewing allows for open communication, better teamwork, and increased productivity.

There are many things I have learned from my managers that I have been incorporating in my supervisory style with my intern — one of the most important lessons being listening. Followed by taking action when things aren’t working.

My one-on-one meetings have resulted in some good, open dialogue but I think getting it straight from the horse’s mouth (by adapting this form [PDF]), will reveal insights that can help me become a better manager.

I plan to get it right.

Not just for me, but also for my employee.

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5 Responses to Evaluate your manager

  1. VyankateshNo Gravatar on May 17, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Completely agree with you Mansi.

    360 degrees feedback is a very important tool or mechanism for the all round "managerial skills" development of an individual.

    Some companies do have such a feedback system – Infosys being among them. (Catch more at this news article – http://www.rediff.com/money/2006/aug/03mspec.htm).

    Fear of the boss is inherent in an appraise – but that can be eliminated by sharing "what is the feedback" – rather than "who shared the feedback".

    Wish you a successful implementation of your good idea.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mansi. Mansi said: Why don’t managers encourage upward performance appraisals from employees? Do you solicit feedback? Why? Why not? http://bit.ly/9dR0Z5 […]

  3. BillNo Gravatar on May 18, 2010 at 3:29 am


    I think 360 reviews can be very helpful as long as everyone is honest with the process. When I worked for E&Y my team was one of the first in the company to institute 360 reviews & the comments that we gave upper management (the reviews stopped at Senior Managers, so no Managers…we reviewed a Senior Manager & a Partner) helped them change their styles & brought the team closer together. I still have a great relationship with my “boss” because I was responsible for giving him the review in person for many years. We had some very frank discussions about his style & how to improve it. So the process does work, if given the chance.



  4. Shachi ThakkarNo Gravatar on May 18, 2010 at 9:53 am

    It’s strange that you haven’t filled out a review form for your supervisor. At my firm, it’s mandatory for the supervisor/manager to get feedback from everyone reporting to him.

    Also, we have a manager feedback tool which sends out a survey atleast twice a year. We are used to giving open and direct feedback, it is discussed with us by our manager and things that need to be improvised are worked upon.

    It is a win-win for both the manager and employee, and you said it right, a great way to establish trust.

  5. MansiNo Gravatar on August 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Thanks, all, for your comments. I learned a lot from my intern’s evaluation of my managerial skills. The one thing that stood out most was her wanting to know more big-picture stuff. She wanted to find out where her particular assignments fit with the team’s strategic goals and vision — took me completely by surprise. But I was happy, since it showed her interest in being a contributing member of the group.


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