empower 360 - The 360 Degree Feedback Blog

How Leaders Manage Their Time: What's Your Style?

360 feedback and management style

A recent article in the McKinsey journal described a research project that segemented leaders' time management style into 4 distinct groups: Online junkies, Schoozers, Cheerleaders and Firefighters.

Online junkies spend nearly half of their time on email and other forms non face to facecommunication. They avoid personal contact and are difficult both for their customers and their teams to access. These are found in a wide ranging variety of roles.

Schmoozers spend most of their time outside the organisation and not much time with their teams.  They are great meeting clients and face to face, but they don't spend much time thinking or strategising.These tend to be in CEO and Sales Director roles.

Cheerleaders are great with their teams, encouraging and motivating.  They're great on face to face and group activities, but not so great externally.  They are often Board members or senior managers, and may not spend enough time with customers.

Firefighters spend most of their time just solving problems,and are not great with meeting clients or strategically leading their teams. They are mainly general managers and tend to be in operationally focused roles.

In some ways, this analysis is obvious. After all, people will tend to do more of what they are comfortable doing, and less of what they don't like.  However the report also said that only 9 percent of global executives were fully satisfied with the way they spent their time, and roughly one-third were actively dissatisfied. This means that these senior leaders are aware that they are not spending their time in the most effective way possible.  So what's the point of this analysis, and how can it help in assessing and development growing leaders?

Firstly, it's useful for managers and leaders to understand how their own preferred style of time management is experienced and observed by the people around them. It may be something that is preventing them from improving their performance, for example if they are not spending enough time supporting their teams, or too much, to the detriment of other priorities.And that's the key: understanding the time management style of the leader, its relevance to his or her role and what they can do to get the balance right.

This type of time management style can usually be picked up and communicated through a 360 Degree Feedback process; particuarly helpful is the 'Start, Stop, Continue' style of free text question, where colleagues give their ideas of the kinds of things they would like the leader or manager to start, stop and continue doing. 

This can lead to very specific input which the leader or manager can implement on a daily basis. These inputs need to be used in conjunction with the participant's performance and development goals; for example, their key goals may relate to external activities and marketing, rather than internal, operational activities. So interpreting the 360 feedback received in the light of the manager's goals and role is a very important part of the 360 process.

To support the process of understanding, interperting and context, you can:

  • Include a section in the 360 for comments that relate specifically to the time management styles described above
  • Include a rating scale that asks raters to comment on the relevance or importance of the behaviour to the particpant's role, e.g. they do not observe them spending much time on external meetings, but this may not be important in their role
  • Create a link between the balanced scorecard and the 360, if your organisation uses the balanced scorecard model, or include an 'importance' rating in your 360 and development planning system, so it's clear how the participant should prioritise their time. based on their role and goals.


July 15, 2013 13:09 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

How can I get useful feedback about my performance?

This is an interesting 'reader question' that has just been posted on the Guardian today. The individual feels their performance is better than the rating they have received in their performance appraisals in the past 4 years.

How can I improve my performance review score? I feel I am being ignored

I would try the following before upping sticks, although I do agree in part with 11101 that it could be the culture in your particular team that you'll never be able to change...
Some questions I would ask are:

What specifically is holding you back in performing better in your job? What do you think you're doing well that is not being noticed?

What do you discuss with your manager on a day to day basis...does he give you regular feedback about what you're doing well, and, on the things you're not doing well, what exactly you can do about it?

What about the once-a-year performance review discussion - what do you talk about then?

You say that you feel your performance went unnoticed - did you point this out to anyone? I know you complained to your boss, but what did youactually complain about, and would it be more useful to go to him with a constructive plan for improving your performance.

What about 360 feedback - i.e. feedback from other people you work with. Is there a 360 process in your organisation you can use to get some evidence for your
performance? Or even get some informal feedback that you can report back to your boss?

Unfortunately unless you actively take control, nothing will change in your team. Your boss is either unwilling or unable to have the regular discussions to support your performance improvement, so you'll have to be a lot more pushy, but in an asssertive (not whining, sorry!) way.

I don't quite understand the performance ratings you've described. How does your organisation define 'delivering on expectations', and how does this relate to the overall final score you receive?

I think the answer to your dilemma is a mix of:

  1. Understanding the using the performance appraisal system to your advantage: make sure you set clear goals that can be measured so you can prove your performance
  2. Getting feedback from other colleagues, even customers if that's relevant to your job, so that you're able to go to your manager with hard evidence of what you've been doing
  3. Actively taking control and forcing your manager to sit down regularly with you (every couple of weeks at least), to talk about your performance and provide specific ideas on how you can improve (if this indeed is the problem).

If, after all this, it seems you really are underperforming, have you considered whether you're in the right job for your skills and capabilities?

There's nothing more frustrating than feeling your performance is not being recognised or rewarded - but in many organisations with not great managers you have to take it into your own hands, especially if you are, as you say, in a senior position.



March 22, 2013 10:25 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

A Guide to Bad Bosses

You’ll be familiar with these: Narcissist, Wimp, Burnout, Bully and Territorial Boss, from the brilliant Guide to Bad Bosses by cult Illustrators Modern Toss.

My additions include: Sarcastic Boss – always have to have the last (sarcastic word), Patronising Boss (‘Going on holiday? We must be paying you too much…’) and One-Upmanship Boss (has seen, done and rejected every idea you come up with)...

Maybe these should be included in every boss's 'How Not to be a Good Boss' 360 Degree Feedback assessment.

January 9, 2013 09:28 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Apprenticeships in demand – and Masters required!

This recent data in the Guardian makes very interesting reading.

Apprenticeships: 10 applications for every vacancy, data shows

It seems that the world of work has come full circle – way back in the middle ages, guilds came together to create quality and consistency in their particular trade. A strict system of training and apprenticeship grew up, allowing young people to learn directly from the Master. This simple but very effective system exploited the learning and experience of the Master, and gave the apprentice a long but clear path to his own expertise in the future. This is something that is missing in many people’s careers today – we are expected to develop our own skills, manage our careers and make our own way. Of course the world of work is radically different now, but ask anyone where they got their best training, and they’ll probably tell you that it was from a more experienced person whom they learned from by observation – and who they could turn to for advice.

This is also critical for handing on the key values and principles that the business wants to espouse. When we talk about values and having the right culture, we must realised that this can only happen if we have senior experienced people who model those values and are able to pass them on to the new people coming into the business.

January 1, 2013 18:24 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Becoming a partner in Goldman Sachs: an interesting insight

In this fascinating article in Thursday's Guardian, the process of becoming a partner at investment bank Goldman Sachs is described in some detail. 

While not undergoing a traditional 'partner pipeline' development process or assessment process that you would typically find in law firms or accountancy practices, prospective partners are assessed by current partners for their suitability as partners. 

"To be selected, candidates will have survived a process known as "cross-ruffing", a term borrowed from the card game bridge. Insiders describe it as a rigorous  cross-checking procedure that involves teams of Goldman partners interviewing  each other about potential candidates".

In addition, candidatees 360 Degree Feedback and performance over their career at GS is also taken into account.

So although there is no formal interview, or 'assessment centre' activity, there is a thorough, well-understood way of promoting staff to partner level.


November 12, 2012 12:09 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Why are managers so bad at managing?

This is an interesting - and controversial -  article in today's UK Training Zone.  The writer is saying that, because of the history of how management developed, managers are poor at management because they treat their teams as inferiors and behave towards them 'as if they were children'.

I disagree strongly with this, and have posted a response.  You can read it here:

Hi Peter

This is a fascinating and thought-provoking article.

However I disagree strongly with your rationale for
why managers are so bad at managing!

Whilst it's true that the workforce is now more mature and well-educated
(in certain sectors and primarily in the developed economies), I don't think
this is due to a general poor attitude amongst managers.  Of
course there are some managers who do behave in a dominating and
dictatorial way towards their teams.

But poor management is less about this, and much more about the lack of management skills
of the people who are promoted to 'management'in many organisations.

The typical first or second line manager still gets promoted based on their
ability to carry out their job, whether that's in a consultancy, a bank,
a factory or a retail store.

All of a sudden, Joanna Bloggs finds herself having to deal with 'people' stuff,
running a team, 'telling people what to do', and dealing with the consequences
when they don't do it.

The skills of listening, coaching, training and giving feedback are the most
important skills that managers need, and unfortunately they're the skills most
of us are bad at.  We don't learn them in school or university, so many of us
only find out how bad we are once we've been given a team to manage!

And many organisations don't provide any training for new managers until they've been
in the role for a while, and struggling, and doing things wrong.

In its Employe Outlook Spring 2012 report, the CIPD says that while
employees are generally positive in their attitude to their immediate
line manager, they were less positive on line managers' on-the-job-coaching,
discussing their training needs, or feedback on performance.

Organisations can help managers to develop these skills without spending
lots of money, by giving managers some training and support in these
key skills, as well as some self-awareness and understanding of how they can
adapt their own style to a more coaching-centred way of managing.


Track Surveys



October 24, 2012 13:01 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

What to do when the Board is in trouble

Here's a link to my posting to UK HR Zone today, on how to help the Board to get through crises of confidence - and how to skill up the Board so that crises don't happen again.

October 16, 2012 10:33 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

What can I do about a disastrous overseas office move?

"The manager is struggling, I've had to take on my own work and that of other people, and a performance review is being twisted to slur my character".

In this letter to the Guardian, an employee describes a recent move to an overseas office - and is very unhappy.

Being upset is normal in this situation and OP is certainly dealing with a lot of pressure. It may be that he does look for another job in the medium to long term, but in the meantime, he'll have to find a way of making your working day less of an ordeal - for his own sake, and for his colleagues' sake.

He seem to have viewed his manager and colleagues pretty negatively from the start - I'm not sure why this is. Maybe he is feeling anxious and might it be easier to deflect that by blaming all the problems on them/

To maintain his sanity, I'd suggest he takes a bit of control, in whatever way works for him. Here are some ideas:

- Take his manager out to lunch, or for a coffee. Get to know her and maybe understand her problems and worries. It may give him a better insight and it will help hisd ay to day relationship, even if they only talk marginally about work things. It may be a good opportunity to talk about his work load - yhe needs to judge that for himself.

- Ask for feedback on a regular basis - it doesn't have to be formal, but just a quick 'how did I do on that?', or 'was there anything I could have done differently?' can be revelatory. It does take a bit of humility though...

- Don't just ask for feedback from the manager - ask the team as well. They may be reluctant at first, but if he asks, listens and doesn't argue back, he will find them opening up and appreciating him more as a manager.


October 8, 2012 11:25 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Marshall Goldsmith: “To Help Others Develop, Start with Yourself”

In this brilliant article, MG talks about how much leaders of large organisations have changed over the past 20 years. The CEOs of companies like General Mills, Dell and Johnson&Johnson, recognise that they need to develop their own skills in order to help others to develop. They believe that they themselves can learn from their colleagues, and are willing to be open about their own weaknesses and challenges. They ask for 360 Degree Feedback,talk openly about the feedback they receive and are willing to be evaluated by the same criteria as everyone else.

To Help Others Develop, Start with Yourself

What I love about this approach is that leaders – whether they are leading a team of two or a global company of thousands – are visible to their employees all the time, whether they realise it or not. And the people they work with will clearly see the leader’s strengths and challenges; the only difference is that they may not see the leader doing anything about them.

People are led by what their leaders do, not what they say. So leaders can really only change their followers by changing themselves, visibly and openly.

In our work with senior leaders in different sectors, we’re finding that attitudes are changing. Senior people with responsibility for business growth are starting to realise that:

  • It’s OK to ask for feedback
  • Your colleagues will have insights that will help you – no matter how smart or successful you are
  • It’s OK to admit you need to get better at some things – it’s not a sign of weakness
  • It’s OK to admit you don’t get it right all the time
  • Smart leaders listen and learn

For more information, videos and resources, visit tracksurveys.co.uk

October 4, 2012 12:00 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Barclays bonuses to be linked to 'way we do business', says new CEO

This article from Ask Grapevine HR reports that the new CEO of Barclays Antony Jenkins, has told staff that bonuses will no longer be dependent only on financial performance.  From now on, he has said (Barclays) "will reward people not only on the revenue they generate, but how they actually behave and do business".  This is a critical shift in emphasis, particularly in the financial sector, and seems to recognise the importance not just of what people do, but how they do it.

Measuring what people do is easy - set them financial, time-based, efficiency, and client based goals. Of course these are importance for the business.  But equally important is understanding how people are working.  360 Degree Feedback can be a powerful tool that benchmarks how individuals behave towards their colleagues, how well they manage, how well they lead and communicate, and critically what their leadership style and messages are telling other people.  It's therefore critical to include an element of 360 when setting out to change values and culture in an organisation.

September 21, 2012 20:20 by Jo
E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed