Workers rating the bosses could help

ON THE JOB

October 04, 2006|By HANAH CHO

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

A recent survey shows 92 percent of managers consider themselves to be an excellent or good boss.

Employees aren't as generous, with 67 percent rating their managers favorably, according to the survey commissioned by Hudson Talent Management in New York. Ten percent of workers say their boss does a poor job.

(The survey, conducted by research firm Rasmussen Reports, polled 1,854 workers between Sept. 7 and 10. The margin of error is 2 percentage points.)

Robert Morgan, chief operating officer at Hudson, says a perception disconnect occurs because employees rarely give feedback about their bosses' managerial skills.

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

"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 what they're hearing, which is not upward feedback."

To close the perception gap, Morgan suggests companies conduct management reviews in which employees are asked to evaluate their managers, because in the long run, employers may lose talented workers unhappy with their bosses. And managers may not get necessary training to 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 getting feedback, and employees may not be happy."

From the mailbag: Readers had a lot to say about having their computer and telephone use monitored at work. I wrote last week that 76 percent of employers monitor Web surfing, while 51 percent of companies track 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 mind being monitored!" she writes.

"I think the employer has a right to monitor employees who are, after all, using the employer's equipment and time."

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

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

For Jeannie, who lives in Harrisonville in western Baltimore County, the conversation over workplace monitoring is missing the bigger picture.

"Why do people feel compelled to conduct their non-work business on company time?" she says. "Maybe it has more to do with the rat race mentality 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 working@baltsun.com. Please include your first name and your city.

On the job is published Monday at www.baltimoresun.com. Hanah Cho's podcast can be found at www.baltimoresun.com/onthejob

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