December 27, 2013

I know there are many managers who aspire to be great bosses. So, I’ve developed a little quiz to see if you’re well on your way. Read the 10 questions, then select from the multiple choice answers. I hope the correct ones will be obvious to you and the others might bring a smile. You’ll find the correct answers at the end of the quiz.

The Great Bosses Quiz:

1. The most effective feedback from managers to employees is:

a. Serious and scary

b. Specific and sincere

c. Sweet and sour

2. Emotional Intelligence is:

a. Essential to effective leadership

b. A touchy-feely waste of time

c. An unreleased single by Hall & Oates

3. Micromanagers are:

a. Shorter than average managers

b. Rarely appreciated by staff and likely to impede employee growth

c. Beloved by all

4. Managers who are good coaches for staff know their most important tool is:

a. The question

b. The whistle

c. The deep breathing exercises

5. Everyone likes money.  But it’s important for managers to understand that motivation involves much more than extrinsic rewards like cash.  Especially important are intrinsic motivators such as:

a. Envy, greed, sloth and gluttony

b. Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy and Dopey

c. Competence, autonomy, purpose and growth

6. When managers apologize, they:

a. Sound like wimps

b. Should spread the blame around

c. Gain respect for holding themselves accountable

7. Performance management succeeds when supervisors:

a. Set clear expectations and priorities and provide ongoing feedback

b. Leave employees alone to figure things out

c. Use fear and humiliation to keep people on their toes

8. Change initiatives often fail because of:

a. Employees who are too lazy to change

b. Bad luck

c. Ineffective leadership regarding the education, emotion, motivation, collaboration and communication involved in change

9. To build a strong, cohesive team, managers should:

a. Emphasize shared values and goals, build trust and reinforce cooperation

b. Order people to get along or else

c. Identify enemies in other departments and gang up on them

10. People become great bosses by:

a. Strategically sucking up to powerful people

b. Getting an MBA from an impressive school

c. Using their values, skill, power and influence to help others succeed

*    *    *

Here are the correct answers — although I’m betting you already know them.  I’ve also included links to additional reading on each topic. Enjoy!

1. b. Effective feedback is specific, sincere and delivered by a credible person.  Even if you think you’re good at feedback, double it. Employees are hungry for more.

2. a. Great bosses work to develop emotional intelligence because it helps them manage themselves and lead others.

3. b. Micromanagers who chronically hover over a skilled staff impede their growth and job satisfaction. If you want to check if you’re a micromanager, here’s another quiz to take.

4. a. The most effective tool a coach has is the question. If you want to know more about coaching, here’s additional reading. And here’s more.

5. c. Key intrinsic (internal) motivators are competence, autonomy, purpose and growth. As I write in my book, “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know,” the best bosses use extrinsic motivators (praise, rewards) in combination with intrinsic motivators for maximum impact.

6. c. When managers apologize, people respect the fact that they hold themselves as accountable as they do their staff.

7. a. Employees deserve to have clear expectations for their work and ongoing high-quality feedback (positive and negative) about their performance and progress. As we ask people to do more with less, we also need to set priorities.

8. c. Weak managers blame employees or bad luck when change initiatives fail. It takes skilled leadership to help people navigate the education, emotion, motivation, collaboration and communication involved in change.

9. a. Effective teams are all about shared values, goals, trust and cooperation. Great bosses build teams, not silos.

10. c. Great bosses know that the most important thing they do is help others succeed.

*   *   *

How did you do?  Here’s my simple scoring guide:

10 correct answers: Great Boss! Keep leading and learning.

9 or fewer: Keep trying. It’s worth it.

Here’s the companion podcast to today’s column, for those who want to listen again to the quiz and hear a little more advice:

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Jill helps news managers learn how to lead her favorite people in the world - journalists. Good journalists, she points out, question authority and resist…
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