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23 April 2019

How to conduct a performance review on management

Managers are the revenue generators for just about any business, and whether you want to accept it or not, they are also subject to performance evaluations. We’ve written plenty of articles on the process of conducting an employee evaluation. But what about when the shoe is on the other foot? The fact is, the managers are usually the ones conducting the performance review process of employees, but at the end of the day, they also need to be evaluated.


Typically, the managers salary, benefits, and the opportunity for further promotion come down to how you rate their work performance. So by now you are probably wondering who would conduct the performance review on any particular manager? Well, a process known as the 360 degree review has become very popular within many companies to get a comprehensive view on how managers are performing.


What is a 360 degree review?

It may sound complex but it’s actually pretty straightforward. A 360 degree review is a professional feedback opportunity which allows coworkers to give feedback on fellow employees, including managers. The aim is to get a complete picture of the managers performance from each person who works with them.


While this process can be used for each and every employee within the company, we are discussing it in the context of management. As part of a 360 degree review, feedback is often collected from subordinates, colleagues, vendors, managers, and employees. Basically from anyone who works with the manager. The advantage is that you will gain insight into a managers performance from various different viewpoints.


How to administer a 360 degree review?

Organizations use various methods to conduct 360 degree reviews on managers. It ultimately all comes down to the culture and climate of the organization. But just about every 360 degree review will center around a survey that is distributed to multiple people within the organization.


Think of the manager receiving the performance evaluation as standing in the middle of a circle. The people around them within the office setting are the ones reviewing their work performance. Here are the most important things to think about when doing a 360 degree review on managers.


Identify the reviewers

First and foremost, you need to take a close look at the managers working relationships and identify who the reviewers will be based on that. Think about who in the company has insight into the managers performance. Put together a list of 8 to 10 reviewers (obviously dependant on company size) who have different viewpoints on the managers work to make sure that you get a broad overview.


Some of the individuals and groups that you may want to consider include; the managers superior (who does the manager report to), direct reports of the the manager, peers in the same department, cross-functional peers, key customers that they work with, and vendors that they work with.


What to ask in a 360 degree review

As with any performance review, there is no universal set of questions that will give you meaningful insight about every manager within the company. The type of questions that you ask should be directly linked to roles and responsibilities of the manager that is being reviewed, and what goals you’ve set with them in the past.


Important aspects to consider when designing these questions should typically revolve around leadership skills, planning skills, and communication skills. Other things to consider include  time management, project management, enthusiasm, empathy, and approachability. For instance, you could ask “How is the manager to work with on an interpersonal level” or “What do you like most about working with the manager?”


Choose a survey structure or performance review management tool

It’s essential that you maintain the anonymity of reviewers which is why we recommend using a tool like Mark the Job to put together your survey. Mark the Job will help you to create a rational and effective manager performance review that is straightforward and easy to follow.


As for the structure of the survey, if you choose to design one yourself, you will need to think about what style you want to use. Traditional rating scale or the starfish/wheel survey are two common options. For a rating style survey you would simply put together a list of between 10 to 15 questions and ask reviewers to rate the manager on a scale of 1 to 5 based on performance. The wheel style survey consists of five open-ended questions that revolve around five topics that can be summarized as; Start, Stop, Less of, More of, and Continue. Essentially the questions address what the manager should start doing, stop doing, do more of, do less of, and continue doing.


Whatever survey style you go for, the idea is to provide a clear structure for your reviewers. You want them to address specific topics which is why it’s important that you lay out a clear and straightforward survey that is easy to follow.


What to do with all this information 

Once all of this data has been collected, you will need to synthesize the feedback. You can do it manually using MS Excel or Google Sheets, or you could use Mark the Job to help you out. As you review and summarize the data, you will come across actionable trends. For instance, if 7 out of 11 reviewers said that the managers tends to get easily flustered, this is something that you want to address.


Remember that this feedback should be shared directly with the manager and in person. Be sure to share both negative and positive feedback to build the managers self-esteem and people-managing skills.

Posted by: Edit Ford

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