Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Freedom to choose your manager

In an interesting blog post by Gary Hamel in the WSJ.com, he writes, "In a well-functioning democracy, citizens have the option of voting their political masters out of office."

Why shouldn't employees have more say in who their managers are? I can hear the responses to this question by managers everywhere, "We can't allow employees to have that kind of power. There would be no organization and we'd have some teams bigger than others, and by the way, people should learn to work together....not everyone has to like each other."

But when an over-bearing manager is destroying passion and potential and performance, is this a better way to run a business?

I have known many people, who disliked working for their current boss, ask to be moved to a different team or assignment. The vast majority of requests, by far and going away, were denied, destroying employee morale in the process. A poor manager remains to lead people and most of the people remain, working far below their potential.

A manager's performance should be based on two factors, performance indicators (sales, productivity, quality, etc.) of the team and the team's assessment of the manager's ability to engage them...or put another way...employee satisfaction.

But too many companies are afraid to use 360 degree feedback and most of the one's that do, don't put much weight in them. What could be more powerful an indicator of manager performance than whether the people he/she manages like their job, whether they perform well, and whether they want to perform well?

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