If you internalize any management advice, may it be this: Ask for and give regular feedback.
Countless studies have proven that frequent, specific feedback (be it critique or constructive praise) increases employee satisfaction, engagement, and performance, while fostering a culture of psychological safety organization-wide.
However, more often than not, workplace feedback only comes from the top-down. This can breed resentment and frustration among underlings, while handicapping leaders from learning invaluable development lessons themselves.
To ensure managers are learning from their teams, Google asks employees to fill out a 13-question manager feedback survey (on a Google form, naturally) on a semi-annual basis. The responses are recorded confidentially, and managers receive a report of anonymized, aggregated feedback, plus verbatim answers to two open-ended questions at the end of the form.
“The feedback a manager gets through this survey is purely developmental,” Google says. “It isn’t directly considered in performance or compensation reviews, in the hope that Googlers will be honest and constructive with their feedback.”
The first 11 questions ask employees to rate whether they agree or disagree with statements about their manager using a five-point Likert scale (from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”). Google says that each statement is based on one of the eight behaviors of successful managers at their company:
- My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
- My manager does not “micromanage” (i.e., get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
- My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
- 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.
- My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
- My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
- My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
- My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
- My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
- I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
- I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.
The final two questions are open-ended:
- What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
- What would you have your manager change?
Google recently made the feedback survey public. It shared the complete form, along a number of other tools used to train and support managers, on its re:Work blog.