June 17, 2010
Note to boss: You get an F!
Most of us have had a manager we'd like to give a piece of our mind.
[Photo by amboo who?]
Maybe they're too meddlesome, absent-minded, or meeting-happy. Maybe they're an idea-stealing blowhard, an uninspiring bully, or an ineffective boob. Or maybe their lack of transparency and honesty during a recent round of layoffs or a public relations crisis caused us to lose all trust and respect for them.
A friend whose supervisor falls into one of the above categories recently had the opportunity to give her boss some anonymous feedback. Word was the review would be read by both her boss and her boss's boss.
Triumphantly, my friend recounted to me how she held no punches in this report, listing the numerous ways in which her morale-quashing boss had driven the department into the ground during the past couple of years. Although the word "cathartic" came up more than once in the conversation, it was clear that my friend still cared a great deal about her employer and the work she did and wanted to see her department succeed.
My friend later learned that although several of her colleagues had followed suit, others had given the boss a far better reviewed than they felt she deserved. "No way am I risking it. I can't afford to lose this job!" seemed to be the prevailing reason for the false reviews.
In theory, an anonymous review of a manager should be exactly that, whether conducted internally or overseen by a consultant or another third-party organization. But employees are not blind sheep. Most of us have watched an employer or those making headlines assure staff of one thing and then do the exact opposite just days or hours later. So although I don't like it, I can't blame some employees for wanting to save the negative feedback until they've safely collected their references, secured another job, and are walking out the door.
How about you? If you had the chance to weigh in on your boss's recent performance, would you do so honestly? Or would the fear of jeopardizing your standing at the company drive your decision to tell the truth?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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