As a teacher, my wife has to complete a yearly “structured interview” for her job. This structured interview requires her to describe objectives and goals for the long and short term. Another requirement is to assess the students’ strengths and weaknesses and determine how to best provide instruction for those students that need it. I have been thinking that the structured interview process is a fantastic one to force managers to prove their mettle.
Many managers are lazy. Yep, I said it. We all know that there are some amazing ones out there, but there are still plenty of lazy managers to give the rest a bad name. It’s so easy to take a performance review template and mark “meets expectations” on every blank. To do a real evaluation takes courage and leadership, because you’re bound to make someone upset or angry with a truthful performance review. Think about how your performance review would be different if these sorts of questions were asked by your own manager. Just for kicks, I have added a short version of my own answers to the questions. It would be tough to ask these questions, because you might not like the answers you receive, but in the long run, trying to hide from the truth isn’t a viable option.
What do you want out of this job? Meaning. I don’t want to put widgets together. I want to know how my efforts are making peoples’ lives better.
How do you like to be rewarded? I like to be rewarded for my individual contributions, of course, but a big boost would be for my manager to toss out that slacker that surfs the Web for two hours a day. It makes me feel like my work isn’t valuable.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it? Don’t pour your heart into a job that you hate. It will only make you hate it more, and it will extend into other areas of your life, too. Not worth it.
Why are you still with this company (i.e. what’s keeping you from leaving)? The knowledge that I have the opportunity to not only impact the lives of others on a daily basis, but I also have the chance to improve the company in the long-term by proposing strategic ideas. Intrapreneurship at its finest.
What would it take to get you to leave this company? The offer of more autonomy and the chance to coach and lead others to be their best. I am motivated by relatively simple things.
How do you like to be managed? Tell me the end result and loosen the reins. Micromanagement doesn’t work in the long run. Give me a goal and get out of the way.
What would make your life easier at work? A free cafeteria would be nice, but I would settle for some telecommuting for now. I’ve already mentioned before that a mentorship program would really rock.
Of course a manager wouldn’t have to ask all of these questions to all of his or her subordinates. However, for those select few that really bust their tails to exceed goals, why not give them some extra attention? It may end up having a larger effect on the bottom line than you would imagine. Would you like for your manager to give you this attention, or would you rather hide in a cubicle and avoid detection until you can eventually retire?