Being a great manager takes self-awareness. These self-assessment questions will inspire managers to better communicate with and motivate their teams.
Managing a team is never easy. From motivating employees through difficulties, to coaching and mentoring, being a manager is more than just assigning tasks. Self-assessment questions encourage managers to reflect on their role, so that they can develop their leadership skills.
It’s widely known that managers play a crucial role in performance management and employee experience. According to Harvard Business Review, managers make up 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. Line managers are the everyday communicators of a company’s values and HR policies.
Role of managers in a company
Motivate teams to perform at their best
Influence employee engagement
Help employees set and stick to goals
Communicate HR policy and company values
Tie employees’ work into wider company objectives
Despite their impact, managers are often overlooked when it comes to HR strategy. A simple manager self-evaluation is a great way to get managers thinking about their performance.
Managers should be as honest as possible in self-evaluations. Are they motivating their employees, or letting them get burnt out? Have they adapted their communication style to remote work? Self-reflection can be the starting point for developing those all-important leadership skills.
Self reflection can be the starting point for developing those all-important leadership skills
A manager self-assessment helps HR to support managers. Are there any areas where HR could provide training? Could HR consult managers on a goal setting strategy that sets staff on a path to success?
Benefits of Manager Self-Assessment
Gives managers a growth mindset
Supports managers in their career development
Indicates to HR areas where managers and employees require support
A moment for managers to reflect on what is working and what needs improving
An opportunity for managers to note the successes of their teams
Sparks self-awareness for better management
Managers are often incredibly busy day to day. On top of following up on tasks for team members, they have their own work to complete. As role models for the rest of the team, they are under pressure to be ‘always on’!
A self-assessment gives managers the chance to stop and think about their management style. Often if these moments of reflection aren’t organized externally, managers are swept up in every day tasks. Taking the time to reflect on their role in their teams’ performance can be productive.
Managers sometimes find the process daunting – and then they’re less likely to open up about how their team works. Human resources should emphasize that self-assessments are largely developmental, and intended for the team’s benefit.
During a self-evaluation, managers should consider what they aspire to be as a team leader. Self-evaluations are moments of reflection – and should prompt managers to think about what being a great manager means to them.
So much has been written on this topic. In reality, there are many ways to motivate your team and bring out the best in them.
In Harvard Business Review, Marcus Buckingham writes that ‘great managers know and value the unique abilities (of employees) and they learn how best to integrate them into a coordinated plan of attack’.
Recognition then is key to excellent management –acknowledging the wins of your team members helps keep them motivated. It’s about knowing your team members really well – including their weaknesses – so that you can delegate tasks in an informed way.
Overall, most great managers have the following in common:
They know the strengths and weaknesses of each employee
They bring out the strengths of employees
They communicate effectively with their team
They encourage teamwork
They recognize the achievements of their team
They have a clear strategy for performance management
With this in mind, here are some questions for manager self-assessment which cover all of the qualities above.
Great managers know and value the unique abilities of employees - Marcus Buckingham
When we use our strengths at work, from teamwork to customer service excellence, we feel better engaged and motivated. Managers who know their employees well know how to ensure this happens every day.
Describe a time when you harnessed an employee’s skill or a strength to improve team productivity.
On a scale of 1-10, how well do you know your employees?
Do you feel more aware of some employees’ strengths and weaknesses than others?
‘When assigning team projects, I make sure that each team member can play to their strengths’. True/False
Communication is one of the building blocks of great management. Give managers the chance to take a moment to think about their communication style and strategy.
I would describe my communication style in the following way:
'I check-in daily with employees and ask questions of each employee.' True/False
How regularly do you schedule one on ones with employees? How useful do you find these meetings?
How have you adapted your communication style during remote work?
Managers are motivators! From employee wellbeing, to team work, to recognition, so many factors influence motivation levels. These questions help managers reflect on how intentional they are about employee motivation.
‘I always thank employees for a job well done.’ True/False
‘I make time for team building exercises’ True/False
Describe how motivated your employees have been recently. Have you noticed any changes in motivation levels or productivity?
‘I regularly check-in and offer employees support as they complete tasks’
How do you cope with employee burnout on your team?
Collaboration comes naturally to some teams – but often, managers have to create the conditions for great teamwork. Ensure that tasks are delegated in a way that matches each employee’s strengths.
‘I regularly encourage team members to pool their skills and collaborate on projects’ True/False
‘Team members work effectively together and there is little or no interpersonal conflict’ True/False
‘I take on a coaching role when team members hit roadblocks on projects’ True/False
Describe the role of collaboration and teamwork on your team. Do employees work better independently / in a group?
How might you improve collaboration?
I regularly encourage team members to pool their skills and collaborate
Managers are responsible for keeping track of whether employees are working at their best. Performance management is a fine balance – managers should trust employees whilst also setting clear expectations.
These questions think about the role of feedback (whether formal or informal) in performance management, as well as day to day task-setting.
How often do you give informal feedback to employees? Never to Very Often
Reflect on the previous performance review cycle. Do you feel it motivated or demotivated employees?
How would you change the performance review process to better engage employees?
How do you hold employees accountable for completing tasks?
Performance management is a fine balance. Managers should trust employees while also setting clear expectations
Self-evaluations are an opportunity for managers to reflect on their own careers. This helps make the process constructive and forward-looking. Managers are improving their skills not only for their teams, but also so they can equip themselves for their careers longer term.
The thing I must enjoy about my job is:
The thing I least enjoy about my job is:
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
How has being a manager challenged you?
What skills would you most like to develop looking forwards?
It's not about money. It's about the people you have, and how you're led - Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs once said, ‘It's not about money. It's about the people you have, and how you're led’. Being a manager is about giving employees the autonomy to work at their best, whilst also coaching and supporting your team. It’s not an easy job – self-assessment questions can help to see where managers can adapt their strategy.
If you want to learn more about improving management skills, why not read our blog post One on One Meeting Questions Format for Managers.