|Management Self-Development - A Guide for Managers, Organisations and Institutions (ILO, 1985, 282 p.)|
This questionnaire is taken from a book that concentrated mainly on the second level of management effectiveness - namely manager as professional, the science of managing.1 It is therefore a bit more limited in scope than the following one (appendix 3) which is based on the overall outcomes of self-development (see table 1 in chapter 1). However, it does have the attraction of being specifically related to the manager's job. There clearly is a link between the two questionnaires.
1 Pedler, M.J., Burgoyne, J.G. and Boydell, T.H. A manager's guide to self-development. Maidenhead, McGraw-Hill, 1978. Questionnaire and related material reproduced with kind permission of the publishers.
The questionnaire is based on research that highlighted 11 qualities of an effective manager, as follows:
(1) Command of basic facts: Successful managers know what is what and who is who in their organisation.
(2) Relevant professional knowledge: This category includes "technical" knowledge, such as engineering, medicine, agriculture, veterinary science, teaching skills, and so on, depending on your field of specialism.
(3) Continuing sensitivity to events: Managers vary in the degree to which they can sense what is going on around them. The successful manager is more sensitive to events and can tune in to what is happening. This sensitivity helps the manager to behave in an appropriate way in situations as they arise.
(4) Analytical, problem solving and decision/judgement-making skills: The job of the manager is very much concerned with making decisions. Sometimes these can be made by using logical, rational techniques. Other decisions call for the ability to weigh pros and cons in what is basically a very uncertain or ambiguous situation, calling for a high level of judgement or even intuition.
(5) Social skills and abilities: One definition of managing that is often cited is "getting things done through other people". This definition may be inadequate, but it does point to one of the key features of a manger's job - it requires interpersonal skills.
(6) Emotional resilience: The successful manager needs to be sufficiently resilient to cope with considerable stress and strain that arise from typical managerial situations.
(7) Pro-activity: Effective managers have some significant purpose or goal to achieve, rather than merely responding to demand.
(8) Creativity: This is the ability to come up with new responses or solutions, and to have the breadth of insight, and degree of openness, to recognise useful new ideas when other people propose them.
(9) Mental agility: This includes the ability to grasp problems quickly, to handle several tasks or problems at once, switching rapidly from one to another.
(10) Balanced learning habits and skills: Successful managers tend to be relatively independent as learners - they decide for themselves what is "correct" and "incorrect". They can also combine abstract and practical thinking, and can also learn from their own experience.
(11) Self-knowledge: Whatever managers do is in some way affected by their own view of their job and role, goals, values, feelings, strengths and weaknesses.
These, then, are some of the qualities of an effective manager. The questionnaire that follows is designed to help you to think about yourself in those terms.
You will see that there is no "scoring system" as such. This particular questionnaire is more open-ended. Instead of seeking a numerical score, you should go through the questions, answering them as fully as possible. Then you decide for yourself what your answers mean - what they are telling you (remember, too, that this is still the first step in the self-assessment process of figure 6, chapter 2). In this way, the questionnaire is designed to help you to explore and examine yourself, rather than to measure yourself.
Incidentally, it can be very helpful to go through the questions with a partner - a friend or colleague, for example. In this way you can take it in turns to ask the questions, and follow up the answers with supplementaries, asking for more information or examples, giving feedback on how you see the other person, and so on.
(1) Command of basic facts
How much do you know about what is going on in your organisation?
What are your sources of information?
How extensive are your contacts?
How many people do you know in your organisation?
What do you know about the way other people feel about your organisation? "Other people" should include those superior to you, at your own level, more junior to yourself, owners, management, and workforce; customers, consumers, and clients.
Can you think of some recent examples of occasions when you needed to know more basic facts?
How much do you know about your organisation's policies?
How much do you know about your organisation's medium and long-term plans?
What do you do to keep informed about all these things?
(2) Relevant professional knowledge
What do you do to keep up-to-date with new techniques and with the latest thinking in your area?
How much time do you spend reading specialist journals?
How do you get guidance on technical or specialist aspects of your job?
How well-informed are you about possible legislative, governmental, and international changes and the effect these might have on your organisation?
(3) Continuing sensitivity to events
What do you do to make sure that you are tuned in to what is happening in a given situation?
How sensitive are you to the way other people are feeling, or to the way in which they are likely to react? What steps do you take to develop this sensitivity?
How perceptive are you?
How do you make sure that your assumptions about what is going on are correct?
What types of situation do you find hardest to weigh up?
(4) Problem-solving, analytical, and decision/judgement-making skills
What do you find most difficult about making decisions?
How do you feel about having to make judgements in situations in which ideally you would have more information?
What range of decision-making techniques do you have available to help you when appropriate?
Can you think of some recent examples of good and bad decisions you made?
In general, how confident are you in your decision-making abilities?
(5) Social skills and abilities
How much difficulty do you have with other people? What types of such difficulty do you have?
What do you do in situations involving inter-personal conflict?
Can you think of some recent examples of situations in which you needed to use social skills? What happened?
How much do you know about what other people think and feel about you?
How do you respond to anger, hostility, suspicion?
How do you try to ensure that other people understand you when you communicate with them? How do you ensure that you understand others?
(6) Emotional resilience
How do you cope with feelings of stress, tension, anxiety, fatigue?
With whom do you discuss your worries and anxieties?
Think of the most tense, stressful situations that you have been in recently. How did you behave?
What do you do when you become emotional?
How do you behave in situations of great ambiguity (i.e. when you do not know what is going to happen next, when everything seems very uncertain). Can you give some examples?
What do you do to make sure that you neither become thick-skinned nor over-affected by emotions?
(7) Proactivity-inclination to respond purposefully to events
What steps do you take to ensure that you are in control of your own behaviour, rather than allowing yourself to be controlled or manipulated by others or by situational pressures?
In which situations do you tend to be independent and proactive as compared with situations in which you tend to be dependent and reactive?
How good are you at taking the initiative?
To what extent are you thrusting, active, self-starting, rather than sleeping, passive, following?
How easy do you find it to come up with new ideas?
How do you feel when all the well tried solutions to a problem have failed?
What do you do to try to see new ways of doing things?
How often do you try out new methods, approaches, and solutions to problems?
What are the most creative things you have done in the past 12 months?
How often do you get seemingly crazy ideas which, on further development, turn out to be good and useful?
(9) Mental agility
How good are you at coping with several problems or tasks at the same time?
Can you think of a few examples of situations in which you really needed to think quickly? What happened in each case?
How often do you get sudden flashes of insight, in which "all the pieces seem to come together" to solve a problem? Can you think of some examples of this?
How do you feel when faced with the need for rapid thinking?
What do you do when faced with seemingly contradictory information, data, or ideas?
(10) Balanced learning habits and skills
How good are you at relating theory and practice in management?
Can you think of examples of occasions when you were able to draw general conclusions, or generate mini theories, from your own practical experiences?
Can you think of examples of occasions on which you
(a) preferred to rely on the guidance of an expert rather than trust your own judgement? and
(b) preferred to trust your own judgement rather than rely on the guidance of an expert?
What do you do to ensure that you use a balanced range of learning habits?
What do you do to increase your level of self-knowledge?
Can you give examples of instances when knowledge or understanding of how you were feeling or behaving affected what you were doing?
To what extent are you consciously aware of your own goals, values, beliefs, feelings, behaviour?
How often do you stop to consider your own behaviour, its causes and its effects?
When you have completed the questionnaire, you can then use the normal method of converting the information to personal questions and issues. This involves considering the following questions:
(1) How am I responding to my answers? How am I feeling? What would I like to do?
(2) Why? In what ways are my angel and beast at work here?
(3) Am I sure? (ask this question several times)
(4) How do I feel about doing questionnaires like this? Is that feeling influencing my response?
(5) Am I sure? (several times)
(6) So: WHAT ARE MY ANSWERS REALLY TELLING ME?