I have not seen anyone post this so if there are posts or a podcast on this please advise.

I want to know the groups thoughts on having your direct reports evaluate your performance as a manager. I am thinking about a survey that is anonymous, allowing your direct reports to evaluate how you are doing as a boss. I want to get an honest opinion of my performance from their persfective so I can improve as a manager. What questions would you ask?

tokyotony's picture

Sounds like you are getting into asking about how to do 360 degree evaluations.

Anyway, some areas to evaluate a manager on: effective communications, judgment, goal setting, staff development, team building, leadership, trust, business skills. I would put an brief explanation about each of these so that the direct report is clear.

Then it is always nice to ask: What can I be doing more of? Less of? Continue doing?

I am hesitant to have staff submit this anonymously since they may feel it is a good time to have a "bitching" session about you. Evaluations, as far as I see them, are a way of having having two-way communications and staff should take responsibility for their own feedback, unless they fear their safety, in which case, they should get advice from HR.

Mark's picture


While we haven't done a podcast on 360 feedback, you'll find a good thread here:

You'll see that I agree with Tony - what you're asking for is dangerously akin to 360, and I urge CAUTION. Anonymity is impossible to achieve if you self-administer, and perhaps not even desirable, depending on numerous factors.

Now, do we recommend asking your team for feedback? YES.

Here's what I would do:

1. Every one on one, save 1 minute to ask, "Anything I can do differently, or better? Happy to hear feedback." (And then be willing to hear something that is NOT feedback, but that may be helpful nonetheless.)

You won't get anything for a while... maybe a couple of months... and that's fine. Some will slip through.

2. After 3 months worth of asking, announce that you're going to take 10 minutes and do a "Start/Stop/Continue" exercise at the end of a team meeting. Post 3 flip chart pages on the wall, and put the three words up, one each per page. Then have the team "go to the boards" and write down whatever they want on each sheet. If they don't want to rewrite what someone else wrote, they can just put a check by it. (Some people use sticky notes so folks can write at the table and just stick them up. Macht nichts.

[Just to be clear, Start is stuff you're not doing that they think you ought to, Stop is stuff you're doing they wish you'd not, and Continue is stuff you're doing they like.]

At the end, come back in, read over them, and if you need clarification, ask someone to give some insight. It doesn't have to be the writer, but it can be.

The key to this exercise is being humbly thankful for THEIR EFFORT AND RISK. I usually leave it with, "Give me some time to go over these, and I'll make some changes."

This is the kind of rough but valuable, low cost, high value add stuff that anyone can do.

Hope this helps.


tokyotony's picture

Reading the link to the post on 360 feedback reminded me of the main caveats of doing 360 feedback - trust. Your team must feel a strong sense of trust to give balanced and constructive feedback to each other, and unfortunately, not many companies teach how to do this.

At one company I was with, the owner had a new team of 5 people (4 were hired newly) to evaluate each other after 3 months of working for each other. The owner then used these evaluations in his decision on whether any of the new people would pass probation. Since there was no time for the team to really build a strong sense of trust, everyone tended to "err" in favor of themselves and score each person low and give as much bad feedback as possible about others--thus perpetuating the cycle of distrust. It was kind of like who would be "voted" off the island and encouraged negative feedback.

Birt Stem's picture

Thank you very much.

My thoughts is will your direct reports simply say what you want to here or will they truly tell you what you are doing right/wrong etc...

I love the idea of the Start/Stop/Cont . I am having a Team meeting in a month and will implement at the meeting.

Thank You

Podcast on this would be sweet.

sholden's picture


The Stop/Start/Continue thing is a really good idea.

I have noticed now that I've been doing 1on1s for three months or so. When I ask for improvements for me to do, I am starting to get some answers.

Keep up the good work.


tplummer's picture

I did something a couple of years ago that worked well. At the end of a group meeting I asked the question, "What would you like to see done differently that either I or the other managers here can change or influence?" After the smirky platitudes of how great I was a few good ideas flowed. Things like this part of project X aren't being overseen well or there is a lack of communication between X and Y. So it wasn't anything directly about me. But we talked about things that I influenced or oversaw. So in effect I learned things that I could be doing better. Kind of like a quick lessons learned at that moment.


ctomasi's picture

Wow, I love the idea of soliciting feedback at the O3s and the Start/stop/continue in the team meeting periodically. I'm adding that to my MT toolbelt next week. I will let you know how things go.

That reminds me. I was at my daughter's 5th grade class the other night and saw a start/stop/continue list. I should talk to her about it. The next time I am at her school I should see what other MT tools they have. :-)

rthibode's picture

ctomasi's post led me to think there may be some interest in a couple of feedback tools that I use with my team of student teachers.

1. Small-group instructional diagnosis. (I don't know why it's called what it is, but the acronym is amusing to say.) This is a tool for getting confidential feedback from a class of students. The students elect a peer to run the process, which the teacher explains. The teacher leaves the class, then the student leader facilitates a discussion, collects ratings, and compiles a report. You can see sample instructions here: or by Googling the name.

2. Peer observation feedback. My student teachers regularly observe each other's classroom teaching and give each other written feedback. They receive training first on how to give and receive feedback (focus on observable behaviours is key).

In about 10 years of using anonymous feedback tools like the SGID and lots of anonymous surveys, I've had maybe three incidents of malicious and false feedback.

I'm off to read about 360s and find out if I'm doing something horribly wrong.

andrew_hall9's picture

Yes my friend I also think that regular evaluations are important because they give you an opportunity to let your good manager know that you notice and appreciate their efforts and their contributions to your business. It also let’s your managers who aren't measuring up to your expectations know that they are functioning below your standards and allows you to discuss ways for improvement.

juliahhavener's picture

You will get some valuable feedback in those O3s after consistently asking. It takes a while and begins in a trickle but as folks hear 'thank you' and see you taking that feedback and implementing changes - even if those changes are directed towards changing perception rather than the process identified if need be.