Bosses can benefit from feedback

On the Job

Here's some news that confirms what workers have known all along: Bossesthink they're doing a great job managing, while their workers have adifferent view.

A recent survey shows 92 percent of managers consider themselves tobe an excellent or good boss. Employees, however, disagree, with 67 percentrating their managers favorably, according to the survey commissioned byHudson Talent Management in New York. Ten percent of workers say their bossdoes a poor job. (The survey, conducted by research firm Rasmussen Reports,polled 1,854 workers between Sept. 7 and 10. The margin of error was 2percentage points.)

Robert Morgan, chief operating officer at Hudson, says a perceptiondisconnect occurs because employees rarely give feedback about theirbosses' managerial skills.

It's common practice for managers to review their subordinates'performance but not the other way around. In fact, the survey found thatonly 26 percent of workers are given the opportunity to review theirmanagers.

"Workers don't walk into their managers' offices and tell them,'You're not doing a good job,'" Morgan says. "You're not hearing anything,so you think everything is OK. Managers have perception based on whatthey're hearing, which is not upward feedback."

To close the perception gap, Morgan suggests companies conductmanagement reviews, where employees also are asked to evaluate theirmanagers. Because in the long run, employers may lose talented workers whoare unhappy with their bosses. And managers may not get necessary trainingto be effective leaders.

"Overall, the score for managers was OK. But perception is reality,"Morgan says. "The danger for employers is that managers aren't gettingfeedback, and employees may not be happy."

From the mailbag: Readers have a lot to say about having theircomputer and telephone use monitored at work. I wrote last week that 76percent of employers monitor Web surfing, while 51 percent of companiestrack the amount of time we spend on the phone.

Coleen, of Baltimore, says the practice is fine with her.

"I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but I truly don't mindbeing monitored!" she writes. "I think the employer has a right to monitoremployees who are, after all, using the employer's equipment and time."

Cindy, a reader from Ohio, says she understands and supports employermonitoring except when accessing personal e-mail accounts.

Here's Cindy's argument: She only accesses her personal e-mail duringbreaks or lunch time. Sometimes, she sacrifices her break or lunch to catchup on work. So, some privacy is expected.

For Jeannie, who lives in Harrisonville, the conversation overworkplace monitoring is missing the bigger picture.

"Why do people feel compelled to conduct their non-work business oncompany time?" she says. "Maybe it has more to do with the Rat Racementality that seems to make it a necessity."

So how would you rate your boss? What skills does your manager lack? And what else is on your mind about life at work? Send your stories, tips and questions to Please include your first name and your city.

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