Open to Feedback

To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. I am not a teacher, only a fellow student.”  Soren Kierkegaard

 When I was first hired, I was informed that I would be part of the team that would evaluate my boss. I was shocked and surprised that part of my role would be to give feedback to my boss.

However, this feedback was the basis for why she was one of my best bosses ever.

After I was on the job for about two months, my boss came to me and handed me an evaluation form. Here were some of the sample questions and we were to rank them on a scale of one to four. The reason they used this scale system was so no one could just pick three as the average. Your response had to either be above or below-average.


  • Admits mistakes?
  • Communicates effectively in meetings?
  • Manages conflicts to a productive outcome?
  • Develops employees?
  • Keeps confidences?
  • Dresses appropriately?
  • Does not take credit for others’ work?
  • Does not play favorites?

There were many more questions than just this, but the power of the process was that my manager would invite all the raters to a conference room and then have an open discussion about the feedback.  Not everyone would go, but the ones who did attend gave some very constructive feedback and her strength as a manager was her ability to intently listen to what was being said. She worked at listening and taking the comments to heart. 

There were some things said in those meetings that were painful and difficult for her to swallow, but they were said out of care and concern. You could tell she worked at taking the information to heart. By her openness and willingness to listen, it set a tone for the entire department. Everyone tried to be more open and to listen more carefully. You could tell after the meetings it made a difference with everyone.

The amazing thing was the impact it made on the entire company. As a manager, she grew and became better because of the feedback she was getting. However, the company did not endorse nor use 360-degree feedback. Nevertheless, once word got around that she was using it and the results were positive, within two years the Human Resources Department used her method and taught it to other managers.  

This simple technique changed my first day of being hired, because I was invited to be part of the feedback team for my boss, but it also changed our department, and then ultimately changed our company, because the entire company started to use her method. By watching her work at improving herself, she helped improve the discussions in the entire company.


One Response to “Open to Feedback”

  1. Jo at Track Says:

    Face to face 360 Degree Feedback like this can be a very effective tool for managers and teams to use both at appraisal time and
    regularly throughout the year.

    Of course, the managers that need the feedback the most are the ones that are least likely to volunteer!

    So while it’s good to give managers a choice, if you really want to give managers an awareness of their blind-spots (and their
    strengths too), and you want to build a consistent level of skills in the managergroup, the feedback needs to:

    1. Be based on the same questions for each manager and
    each person giving the feedback

    2. Have an element of anonymity so that the feedback from
    those reluctant to give face-to-face feedback, is also recorded.

    3. Be reportable in a format that is easy to read
    and understand

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