No one wants to tell you…

…if you’re a bad leader. Chances are, even if you’re mostly a pretty good leader, they still won’t tell you what you’re doing wrong.

Think about it. The power dynamic discourages this kind of candor. You control their assignments, bonuses, and future employment prospects. It’s too risky for them to offer the kind of feedback that would tell you where you might be falling short.

Fortunately, there’s a way to fix that. The list of questions Google uses to assess leadership internally is publicly available. In fact, it’s at the end of this post.

Create a quick survey using these questions in a tool like Survey Money (they have a free version) and ask your direct reports to complete out. I prefer to use the 7-point Likert scale for these questions, but the value is in the exercise, not the scale calibration. If you’re so inclined, include an open-ended question at the end to ask, “What else would you like to tell me?”

You can use this as an opportunity to build trust with your team. Tell them why you’re doing this exercise, it’s value, and the importance of candid feedback. Make sure the survey is anonymous; you can send them one shared link in a common email to remove all doubt.

This quick exercise has a very high ROI. It’s almost impossible not to learn something worth far more than the time spent discovering it. And, if you manage the process and communication around it well, it can even help strengthen your relationships within your team.

Google’s leadership evaluation questions:

  1. My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  2. My manager does not “micromanage” (get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  3. My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  4. The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
  5. My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  6. My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
  7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
  8. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  9. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
  10. I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
  11. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.

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