Hand out the self-assessment questionnaire to the manager. Explain to the manager that the purpose of this activity is to help them assess their level of ability in some of the key behaviours related to communicating effectively. The activity consists of two questionnaires, the first or which is for the manager to reflect on their own skills. The second questionnaire is designed to help them obtain feedback from others, in particular members of their team.
Stress the need to be as honest and discerning as possible when completing the questionnaire. Suggest that the manager considers what evidence they could give if they were asked to justify the responses. There is not
necessarily any need to share all the output, just the conclusions.
Distribute the second questionnaire: 'Feedback from others' which enables the manager to obtain feedback from others. The items are the same; the wording is changed to fit the different respondents. Depending on the relationship between the manager and the those giving feedback, the questionnaires could be returned direct to the manager or could be returned to a third party for collation, analysis and summary. The resulting report would be given to the manager. The manager could then draw their own conclusions regarding improvement actions or could discuss this with you.
Once the questionnaires have been completed it is important for managers to state their intentions on how to improve on certain areas. Managers who have been most successful in developing their ability to change behaviours are able to create very specific actions from general intentions. Encourage the manager to become more specific in their intentions/commitments by asking ‘With whom and in which situations?’
For example, ‘I am going to improve my listening skills’ is a very good intention. However, on its own it is unlikely to lead to any lasting improvement. This could be replaced by a very specific first step: ‘In my team briefings each Monday morning I am going to ensure that I understand what Chris thinks about the top two agenda items’ and even ‘I am going to check this by writing them down after the meeting.’
Use a coaching approach to help the manager decide which of the behaviours covered in the questionnaires they wants to develop over the next six months or so, and what actions will be taken in order to achieve this.
Some questions that may help:
What pleases you the most about the feedback received?
What disappoints you the most?
Which two or three behaviours do you want to do more of (and which two or three do less of)?
Which of these improvements would give you the greatest benefit?
With which member of your team would this have the biggest effect?
How and when could you get feedback from this person?
How long do you think you should wait before completing these questionnaires again?
It is important, when reviewing the results of any feedback questionnaire, to highlight the fact that:
none of the views of others can be ‘wrong’: they are merely the perceptions of others (how they see the manager behaving). The manager, then, needs to try to understand the feedback, not deny or justify it.
they do not have to change anything if they do not want to.
different people are likely to see the manager differently, partly because of their own preferences. Consequently, the manager is likely to get different, possibly even contradictory, feedback.
the manager should try to focus on those changes in behaviour that will have the biggest pay-off in relation to achieving job objectives.
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