Google is one of the best organizations that thinks critically about leadership development.
Here are 13 questions that Google asks its employees to collect feedback on managers. The first 11 are yes/no questions, and the remaining two questions are open-ended.
Manager Feedback Survey: 13 Questions
1. My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
Advice: Leadership development requires leaders to provide employees with concrete feedback that employees can use to bolster performance. Leaders are not only measured by how they lead, but also how they inspire others to become better. How can anyone improve if they don’t receive actionable recommendations that lead to better outcomes?
2. My manager does not “micromanage” (i.e., get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
Advice: A boss that micromanages is an ineffective boss. Micromanagement shows a lack of trust in the team. When bosses micromanage, it alienates employees by creating unnecessary meddling, an added layer of stress and overall friction. An alternative is for the leader to set the standards, communicate the mission, provide the goals and create the environment for the team to thrive. When managers delegate, the team is empowered to thrive.
3. My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
Advice: In the quest for revenue growth and profit maximization, too many managers lose a grip on the more important human element. The people behind the products and services drive organizations. When your team is not treated with decency and respect, performance will fall and tension will increase. Put people first. When you do, your team will feel valued, they will connected to a larger mission and their performance will improve.
4. The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
Advice: I want people on my team who offer fresh perspectives, even if they are different than mine or challenge my way of thinking. First, welcoming fresh opinions creates a culture of appreciation and recognition. Second, new opinions lead to new ideas, and can create fresh approaches. It doesn’t mean that the leader always needs to implement these new ideas, but it’s healthy to challenge a singular way of thinking because it creates a check and balance against different hypotheses.
5. My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
Advice: Both the team and team leader are responsible to produce. Too often, employees are solely blamed for not staying focused on results. Leaders should establish a set of values and create the structure for their teams to thrive. That means setting the standards of excellence. Show your team what prioritizing results looks like.
6. My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
Advice: Teach your team. Share insights. Information sharing should be encouraged. Don’t hold on to valuable lessons. Educate your colleagues so that they too can thrive.
7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
Advice: There’s too much focus on the immediate. “Get this done now.” “Just focus on the assignment due Thursday.” Employees want to execute, but they also want to build their own careers. Help them develop into the leaders that they want to become. It helps you, inspires them and creates benefits for everyone.
8. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
Advice: Don’t let your team wander down an endless path. Write down the team’s goals and share them every team member. Post them on a wall so everyone can see them. Otherwise, what are they working toward? Help them see the end, and show them how to get there.
9. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
Advice: Raise your hand if your boss can’t actually do your job. Leaders who ask of others also should be able to ask of themselves too.
10. I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
Advice: This is not just a thumbs up or thumbs down. This question is also about trust and community. Do you believe that your manager can be trusted to lead other Googlers? Can this leader help lift up other colleagues and are they right the person to lead others in the organization?
11. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.
Advice: This question empowers employees to evaluate their managers. It places the onus on employees to assess the leadership and management skills of their boss.
12. What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
Advice: Open-ended questions are essential because they remove the confinement of binary ones. This is an employee’s opportunity to encourage their manager to continue the good leadership skills that reinforce optimal performance and inspire excellence.
13. What would you have your manager change?
Advice: This question is the employee’s opportunity to encourage their manager to cease the bad habits and demotivating practices that inhibit progress and thwart results.
What does feedback look like in your organization? Do you incorporate these leadership principles? If not, why, and what would you do differently?