Friday, September 14, 2007

Honest Opinion

My manager recently sent us a survey to fill out. It was an anonymous questionnaire that would rate him as a leader. Among the data points being sought were What was his style - did he build consensus or merely seek followers, was he effective or inspirational, was his problem solving style innovative or run of the mill and so on. I could have been honest and said it like it was. This guy is very smart. He is equally comfortable being in weeds and pitching a business case to senior leadership. I have a lot of admiration for someone who can do that.

For the most part, the team likes him but we do have some feedback for him. Praise for work done well comes rarely if ever, even though he gets the big picture his decisions inevitably end up serving tactical objectives making longer term goals harder to achieve. Cultural awareness and sensitivity is not his strong suit. And finally we really want him to know that acting like a teenager is not cool for a man in his late thirties.

Yet judging from my response to the survey he would come across as being a stellar boss. I pride myself on being a straight shooter so I am not sure why I did what I did. Maybe I don't care enough to speak my mind. I wondered about the efficacy of such surveys if you are polling a group where the majority is uninterested in sharing their honest opinion.

There will some malcontents who will rate him as bad as they can, others like me would not care enough to be forthright. We will be extra nice to compensate for our disinterest. This team has a good amount of respect for its leader because he is capable, hard-working and smart but there is no human connection between him and us.

We couldn't care less if he moved on to another job. I may have responded with more sincerity if I was able to relate to him as a person outside his job description. Maybe surveys trying to gauge the pulse of a team should probe to see if there is any human connection at all. That would be a lot more revealing.

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