Make yourself a better manager

Ever wanted to know what your team members really thought about your management style? Or felt the need to spout off on exactly why your boss is rubbish, without risking your job in the process? Well now you can, with the launch of a new online tool designed to help managers improve their skills ahead of their next performance review.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Make Me a Better Manager is an attempt by talent management company ETS to bring 360-degree feedback to the masses – according to managing director John Southwell, only 10% of the UK’s 4m managers currently get access to it. Managers pay £20 to sign up to the service, and then a number of nominated colleagues are asked to feed back on the manager’s skills. Two weeks later, the subject gets a report summarising the findings.

‘It allows team members to feed back in a structured, confidential way,’ Southwell told MT today. ‘So managers get incredibly powerful, objective feedback on their strengths and weaknesses’.

ETS has already started trialling the service – with surprising results. ‘The most interesting point was the disparity between managers’ perceptions of themselves and other people’s perception of them – often there’s a big gap between the two,’ Southwell said. This proves that you shouldn’t be focusing your training on the areas that you think are the most important, he suggests.

This kind of 360-degree feedback has its drawbacks, of course. ETS was at pains to suggest that the tool produced constructive guidance – but there’s always the chance that a disgruntled member of staff might take the opportunity to put the boot in. And if a manager is left wondering exactly who it was who compared his people skills to those of Attila the Hun, it probably won’t do wonders for the team dynamic.

Still, judging by the success of the endless stream of self-help books for managers, there are plenty of people out there who are keen to improve their skills and try new approaches. And if MMABM becomes your ticket to promotion, it’ll be 20 quid well spent... Perhaps Gordon Brown should put his name down?

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