i lose, you win

Friday!  Hey weekend, thanks for finally getting here.

I don’t know if it’s that nothing interesting happens to me during the day, or it’s that I’m so totally obsessed with this election at this point that I’m afraid all I can write about is dry old politics – but I stayed away from writing last night for one reason or another.

Today at work I ran one of my best meetings in recent memory.  At the sawmill, I run a weekly “staff” for my team, where we come together and talk about all manner of things.  Since the meeting is typically a clearing-house for topics, and is intended to air out whatever needs airing out for the benefit of all to hear – it can often be a tedious, albeit purposeful and important, use of the team’s time.  Today, however, I really enjoyed myself.

See, today I reviewed my year-end “manager survey” scores with the team.  My employees are asked twice yearly to anonymously complete a very brief survey on how I’m doing as their manager.  The questions are short and meant to be representative of the sawmill’s central tenants of management.  From the answers, you’re supposedly able to tell how I’m performing as a people manager.  And, while I have a couple doubts about just how indicative or accurate the results really are, there is no doubt the data is meaningful – as it came from the people I need most in order to be successful myself.

The cool thing about going over your flaws is that it allows you  to give people a small sense of empowerment.   Let me explain:  When I share where I scored low or unfavorably, I can almost see invisible smiles flicker and then instantly fade as someone realizes that, yes, their feedback was heard.  Some managers would hate this, perhaps, but I really enjoy sharing with the team where the team thinks I need a bit more polish.  Not only is the feedback extremely useful in shaping what I work on as a manager, but it also vindicates and gives gravity to the opinions of the “troops.”

By publicly acknowledging the things they’ve rated you low on, and sharing with them your plans to improve – you’re telling them not only that they’re opinion has an impact, but also allowing them to direct you for a change.  And, for some reason, that makes me happy.

Oh, what’s that? You say you want to know what I scored low on?  Well, without getting into details – most of it had to do with being too awesome, too handsome, and too productive.


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