Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Annual review? No thanks

I like working for myself. The boss may be pushy and demanding but I've found she can be really reasonable when push comes to shove and we rarely disagree on the direction work should be taking. For my wage slave friends, if this is annual review time, I've got some statistics to make you feel - if not less fed up, then less alone.

84% of managers think they are fair, while only 69% of their colleagues agree with them. Only 39% of managers think they're good at setting objectives though 56% of the colleagues think they do well - so we've got a lot of unfair, insecure people here. And plenty of workers think it's endemic: if you ask if the company treats everyone fairly only 54% agree and 49% feel that change is something that they're on the wrong end of. 46% of workers don't think much of their manager's skills - again, it's that pungent blend of incompetence and lack of confidence as the reasons. 61% said poor decision-making leaves them frustrated and results in a loss of respect for their manager, while 83% said it damages morale (and I guess the other 17% don't care enough to respond any more). More than half believe it reduces productivity. But looking down from above, 82% of bosses consider managers in their organisation to be effective decision-makers.

And the top ten 'you'd have thought it was obvious' complaints about managers:
- not being fair
- not telling people what they need to know to get the job done
- not getting people involved in changes at work
- not having a good promotion path
- not telling people what the company wants to achieve
- flexible working, no thanks
- pretending the promotion path really is fair, because denying it's raining keeps you ever so dry
- what's the motivation for my character? what, *just* money?
- you can't go on a training day to get more efficient, there's too much work to do
- I may be a wage slave, but I'm a wage slave who expects to have a career path here

Actually I count several variants on not being fair, being seen to not be fair, being an idiot and expecting your staff to be psychic. BTW, a good manager makes a huge difference and they can transform a department, acting as an umbrella against all those drips from senior management; but they won't have the power to turn around a toxic company and company culture is self-sustaining - it's only natural to hire people we think we'll work well with. With some managers and some companies, taking the time to say 'this makes my job harder, can we fix it' is enough to improve things. If not, you have the choice of hating your job, hoping for a new manager, finding a way of coping or finding a new job. Personally I think it's a bad thing to stay in a bad job - I know people often don't have an easy or obvious choice, and I'm sure there are plenty of terrible employees driving their managers berserk in return, but if it's this bad no wonder everyone in offices spends the day reading Facebook...

The deluge of statistics in my mailbox today comes from a site asking you to pay £20 to have your management skills evaluated based on confidential feedback from your team. 360-degree reviews are excellent if they really are confidential, but I don't know how professional I believe a site is when it gives you a £5 Amazon voucher for everyone you persuade to go get evaluated as well. The management skills test is a bit odd too; I keep getting "hmmm. You’re probably a very nice person. But it looks as if you could do with some tips on all your management skills." Hmmmmm. 

Tags: numbers, rant, work

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