Feedback on your Management Practices

Karen Gates




With traditional 360-degree feedback, your boss, peers and subordinates evaluate your job performance. The MLPI focuses more on what your subordinates have to say.


Action planning is one of the keys to making the feedback from the MLPI work. By using the action plan guide and questions, you can determine what results are most important to you, what you want to do about them, and put together a short, doable action plan.


Some people make their action plans public so employees can see that meaningful change is taking place. They post them outside their office doors or up on a bulletin board and chart their progress.


The MLPI has nothing to do with style. Instead, it measures management practices—the actual behaviors you exhibit with your people on a daily basis. Behaviors are much easier to change than the personality characteristics that make up your style.


The MLPI also has to do with people management, not business management, which are two completely different issues. If you’re not a good people manager, you can hire someone to do it for you. But if you don’t pay attention to it, sooner or later you won’t have anything to manage at all.


The action plan is for fine-tuning, not for overhaul. The suggested changes are recommendations only. Whatever you work on is up to you. Don’t try to work on too many things at once or you won’t do any of them well. Focus on one or two things at a time, make the changes, and then move on to something else. The work you do should only take minutes a thy, not days or weeks at a time.


There are four stages of change:


  1. Precontemplation. You think you need to make a change, but you’re not sure yet.
  2. Contemplation. You know you need to make a change and you’re thinking about making it.
  3. Action. You know there is a need to change, you know what you need to do, and you’re actually doing something about it.
  4. Maintenance. You’ve made the change and you’re trying to keep the new skills at their current level.


Self-ratings always have more bias than when others rate you. People tend to know themselves fairly well. But when they are filling out information they know will be shared with a group, one or more of the following four things will happen:


  1. The whole world is watching factor. People rate themselves very high so they don’t look bad.
  2. The prayer factor. People rate themselves very poorly and hopes nobody else does.
  3. The humility factor. People tend to under-evaluate themselves because of an innate sense of humility. This is common in TEC groups.
  4. True/false factor. People don’t believe in or trust the profile so they answer questions in a raqdom and arbitrary manner.





The MLPI measures three broad areas:


  • Management practices
  • Interpersonal style
  • Leadership practices


Management practices are the things you do with the people you work with. They include things you do before the activity, during the activity, and after the activity has been completed. These are normal, everyday management behaviors.


Interpersonal style is the way you interact with others on a one-to-one basis. Don’t attempt to work on this area first because it gets into personality characteristics, which are more difficult to caange than behaviors.


Leadership practices are the higher level things you do that guide and direct the behavior of your people to achieve successful business performance. These are the things you do to inspire people to work together and to achieve company goals.


The management practices group is divided into “before,” “during” and “after.” Of these, “before” has the greatest impact on productivity. Everything you do before you undertake any activity will have the biggest impact on the end result and the productivity of the group.

Measurements in the management practices category include:


  • Goal-setting. Do people know what they are doing, what they are supposed to be doing, and why?
  • Coaching. Do you check in on people and help them along when they have problems?
  • Evaluating for performance. Do you let people know how they are doing, not only when it’s bad but also when it’s good?
  • Facilitating change. If there is a problem, do you jump in and help people with it?
  • Delegation. Are you willing to delegate responsibility? (Technical experts tend to be weak in this area because they are good at what they do and don’t like letting go of it.)
  • Recognition. Do you tell people when they are doing a good job and give credit where credit is due?


Interpersonal style focuses on how approachable you are. (If you’re not in the office much, your score will be lower because you are not physically accessible.) Measurements in the interpersonal style category include:

  • Directive. Do you take control over the work group?
  • Participative. Do you listen to what people have to say and take their ideas into account?


Measurements in the leadership practices category include:

  • Strategy. Do you know what individuals are doing and how each one fits into the big picture?
  • Communication. How open is the communication in your company? How good are you at communicating with others one-to-one and in groups?
  • Teamwork. Do you facilitate it within your group and is it appropriate to do so?
  • Empowering employees. Do you give them the authority and resources to accomplish what they need to do?
  • Trust. Do you build high levels of trust between you and your employees and within the group?
  • Resourcefulness. Do you provide people with what they need to get the job done?
  • Self-confidence. Can you take constructive criticism well?
  • Decisiveness. Can you make decisions? Are they the right ones?

INTERPRETING YOUR SCORES — Each survey has a solid line and a dotted line. The solid line represents your subordinates’ rating; the dotted line represents your self-rating. A risk area is any score below 40%. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem now, but if you don’t do something about what you’re doing, you will have a problem in the future. A risk area is something you need to pay attention to.


Because TEC groups represent compressed data, any score for TEC members around the fifty percentile is good. In a normal population, 50% wouldn’t be a good score.


Anything over the 70th percentile represents “loudness.” That doesn’t necessarily mean you do a lot of yelling and screaming. Instead, it means you can tell people the same thing ten different ways and they can get the job done. Some people can only say things one way and they say it over and over and the job still doesn’t get done. Loudness is a qualitative, not a quantitative, difference.


Good balance in a TEC group means there is a fairly close percentage for goal-setting, planning, performance standards and strategy, somewhere within the 10% waffle factor. Balance within a group is good. Goal-setting, planning and performance standards drive the rest of the profile.


A high variance means people scored you quite differently. This isn’t good oi~ bad, it just means that people have different perceptions of you. It may be that you don’t see some people as often as others or their roles are different. For example, an administrative person will often rate you very differently than someone you directly supervise in your function.


It’s a good idea to share the results of your survey with the people who filled it out. They like to see the results of their work and they like to know what you are going to do about what they had to say.

When you receive the feedback, don’t make assumptions about who scored you a certain way, because you can’t tell. Research shows that people with behavior or performance problems are least likely to fill out the survey honestly. They won’t necessarily rate you low. It is usually your close associates or confidants who rate you lower because they aren’t afraid to be honest with you.


Recognition is one category in which almost everybody needs improvement. Most managers don’t tell their people often enough that they are doing a good job. The good news is that it’s easy to improve in this area.


Don’t make assumptions about areas you need to develop because it’s not always clear. You don’t always know how you are perceived, and the employees’ perceptions are their reality. The way they score you is the way they see you. Instead, look for areas of agreement where you and your people both think you need to develop.


Don’t overlook your strengths. In addition to identifying areas for improvement, pay attention to the things you are doing well to ensure you continue doing them.


Action plans should be very simple. Write down very specific actions you will take to improve in needed areas and then track your progress. One way to measure progress is to retake the inventory six months or a year later.



TEC – Feedback on your Management Practices – Karen Gates