> Evaluating a Manager
Evaluating a Manager
You may have heard the rule of thumb, "efficient with things, effective
with people." But how does a manager become more effective with the
people s/he manages? One of the best (and most intense) ways I know of to
evaluate a manager's strengths and weakness and provide constructive
feedback on their effectiveness is known as Start/Stop/Continue
Here's how it works:
- Identify a facilitator, ideally someone in HR, who has an
unvested interest in helping the manager and the whole team be more
effective. The HR person should remind the manager and his direct reports througout the evaluation that this is being done with the manager's consent and blessing, and that the manager has requested this evaluation.
- Gather all the manager's direct reports in one room. Send the manager away, and bring in his/her direct reports. Block
off a couple of hours of their time. The facilitator should ensure
everyone in the room is comfortable. Have them take their shoes off if they
want! Draw three vertical columns up on a big board, and label them
Start, Stop, and Continue. Now brainstorm for a minimum of 10 minutes per
person about what the manager should start doing, stop doing, and
continue doing, and write the ideas on the board. "Start sharing notes from
the exective staff meeting to our weekly team meeting" is one example
of what the team might come up with. The facilitator should ensure that all
suggestions are constructive and actionable.
- Agree on the two key take-home messages. These are the two things the manager should remember. There many also be many other issues, but these are the two items the manager will take away and work on daily. These two items are like the "elevator pitch" for the manager's personal development.
- Send the direct reports away, and bring in the manager. Now
the facilitator walks the manager through all the suggestions and
ensures that the manager understands what each one means. Every suggestion must be anonymized; the name of the person who make the suggestion is not connected to the suggestion. The manager and
facilitator can work together to bundle the suggestions into common
themes, like leadership, availability, responsiveness, and communications. The
manager responds to each theme with the steps that s/he will take to
address each issue, and, with help from the facilitator, sets a time frame
for doing so, such as before the next review period.
- Bring in the direct reports. Now the direct reports come
back, and the manager identifies and recognizes the themes that were
uncovered, and explains what s/he will do to address each issue. Q&A with the direct reports is encouraged.
By the end of this process, the manager will probably know more than he
ever wanted to know about how he is perceived in the organization!
These sessions can be quite emotional, too. I've heard of one session
taking up to six hours from start to finish, for a manager with many
reports. At the end, though, the manager has an action list of exactly what
s/he needs to do to be more effective.