Employee expectations have changed as the workplace landscape has evolved. In the past, compensation was almost always enough to motivate employees. However, as the job market became more competitive, a cultural shift occurred, and workers began to place more value on work-life balance, feeling aligned with their organization’s values, and being fulfilled or inspired by the work they do.
As a result, businesses that make an effort to recognize the needs of their team members in a more holistic way are more likely to attract and retain top talent. And although a well-rounded benefits package can help, leadership has the most significant impact on improving the overall employee experience.
The management team helps set the tone for everything from company culture to performance expectations, and there is often a direct correlation between manager effectiveness and employee satisfaction. Communication is a key component of good leadership, and should work both ways — employees who feel seen, heard, and recognized by their employers feel more invested and engaged in professional outcomes.
Manager survey questions offer a valuable opportunity to solicit employee feedback to effectively improve manager performance. Create a better work environment, improve productivity, and increase employee retention by asking the right questions to help create more effective leaders.
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What’s the goal of a manager evaluation survey?
The most obvious goal of a manager evaluation survey is to collect information that helps assess employee perceptions of the management team. With the right approach, an employee feedback survey can mean more than that, though — it can act as a building block for company culture, and demonstrate that your organization has a genuine interest in the well-being of employees, and their experience at work.
You have to do more than just send out pulse surveys on a regular basis to achieve a mutual sense of trust and transparency, though. You also have to use the information collected to address existing issues, identify areas for improvement, and make necessary changes.
Manager survey questions are an affordable, easily accessible, and incredibly valuable career development tool for managers. The feedback and specific insights gained through evaluation can act as a guide that makes it easier to go from being a good manager, to a great manager.
How can it help you become a better manager?
Managers have a lot of different responsibilities, from overseeing day-to-day work, devising strategies, building teams, communicating with various departments and people, and handling the interpersonal aspects of managing individuals. It’s simply not possible to be fully tuned-in and aware of everything going on in the workplace, regardless of how organized or efficient a manager may be. An employee survey can help shed light on issues or areas of improvement that you might never discover otherwise.
Interestingly enough, asking manager survey questions can also create better employees. Workers who feel like their opinion is valued and their voice matters are more engaged, more productive, and less likely to leave for greener pastures.
Learning more about team members and their needs also creates an opportunity to improve your talent optimization strategy. According to Predictive Index’s 2023 State of Talent Optimization report, only 33% of managers take individual workstyles into account when interacting with others. Understanding how your employees work can help you tailor your communication style to each individual and make more effective decisions when it comes to filling roles, building teams, or identifying development opportunities.
What kind of questions should I ask for feedback on leaders and managers?
The quality of information you receive is contingent on the type of manager survey questions that you ask, so think carefully about what you’re hoping to learn and how best to craft your questions.
The best way to create an effective survey is to identify which management qualities or areas of leadership you’re most interested in evaluating while also asking questions that invite participants to introduce ideas you hadn’t initially considered. A mix of question types can help make that possible. Consider the following formats as you write manager survey questions:
An open-ended question is a type of question that encourages a more elaborate and detailed response rather than a simple yes or no answer. These questions typically require the respondent to provide their thoughts, opinions, experiences, or explanations. Open-ended questions often begin with words like “how,” “what,” “why,” “describe,” “tell me about,” or “explain.” The open-ended nature of these questions encourages individuals to share their perspectives and provide context, fostering more comprehensive communication.
A closed question is a type of question that can usually be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” or a specific piece of information. These questions tend to have limited response options and do not require the respondent to provide detailed explanations or opinions. Closed questions often begin with words like “are,” “is,” “did,” “do,” “have,” “will,” and “can.”
Unlike open-ended questions that encourage in-depth responses, closed questions are used when you want to gather specific and concise information. They are particularly useful for obtaining facts, clarifying details, or narrowing down choices. However, they may not promote as much engagement or conversation as open-ended questions do.
An affective question is a type of question that aims to elicit emotional responses, feelings, attitudes, and personal opinions from respondents. These questions are designed to explore the emotional or affective aspects of an individual’s experience, opinions, or perceptions.
Affective questions often delve into topics related to emotions, preferences, values, and personal reactions. They can be open-ended or structured using different scales, such as Likert scales, to measure the intensity of emotions or opinions.
A Likert-scale question is a type of survey question that is used to measure respondents’ attitudes, opinions, or perceptions about a particular topic. It involves a statement or a series of statements to which respondents are asked to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement. The Likert scale typically consists of a range of response options, usually five or seven points, that represent varying degrees of agreement or disagreement.
The response options on a Likert scale can vary, but they generally follow a pattern like this:
- Strongly Disagree
- Strongly Agree
Respondents select the option that best represents their viewpoint regarding the statement presented in the question.
Likert-scale questions are commonly used in research, surveys, and assessments to gauge people’s attitudes, perceptions, opinions, and preferences on a quantitative scale. They allow for a structured and standardized way of collecting data about subjective feelings and beliefs.
A behavioral question is a type of interview or survey question that seeks to understand how a person has acted or behaved in specific situations in the past. Behavioral questions typically follow the STAR method:
- Situation: Describe the context or situation in which the behavior occurred.
- Task: Explain the task or challenge that needed to be addressed.
- Action: Describe the specific actions you took to address the situation or task.
- Result: Share the outcomes or results of your actions.
By using the STAR method, survey creators can gather detailed information about a person’s behaviors, skills, problem-solving abilities, and how they handle various situations.
How to build your perfect manager survey template
Creating a comprehensive and effective manager survey template requires careful planning and consideration of the specific goals and objectives you want to achieve. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you build a well-designed manager survey template:
- Define the purpose.
Clearly outline the goals and objectives of the survey. Are you looking to gather feedback on a manager’s leadership style, communication, decision-making, team management, or other aspects? Defining the purpose will guide the structure and content of your survey.
- Identify key areas.
Determine the key areas or dimensions you want to assess. These could include leadership skills, communication effectiveness, conflict resolution, performance feedback, employee development, and more. Each area should have a set of focused questions.
- Build the questionnaire.
Include various question types, such as multiple-choice, Likert scale, ranking, and yes/no questions. Different question types provide a comprehensive view of the manager’s performance and qualities. Make sure your questions are clear and concise and avoid leading or biased language. Also, limit the number of questions to avoid survey fatigue.
- Test for clarity.
Pilot-test the survey with a small group to ensure that the questions are clear and easily understandable. This can help identify any confusing or ambiguous questions.
- Allow for additional comments.
Include an open-ended question or section where respondents can provide additional comments or suggestions. This can capture insights that might not be covered by predefined questions.
- Ensure anonymity.
Assure respondents of the anonymity of their responses, which can encourage more honest feedback.
- Analyze and act.
Once you collect the survey responses, analyze the data to identify trends, strengths, and areas for improvement. Use the insights to inform managerial training, development initiatives, and decision-making.
35 question examples to get real feedback on manager and leader effectiveness
Obtaining genuine feedback on the effectiveness of managers and leaders within your organization depends largely on the questions you ask. Use the following examples as inspiration when creating your manager survey.
Questions about a manager’s communication skills
Communication is a key component of effective leadership. Gathering employee perspectives on a manager’s communication skills helps create a collaborative workplace environment that fosters growth, encourages authenticity, and builds mutual trust.
- How well does your manager communicate team goals and expectations?
- Do you feel comfortable asking questions or seeking clarification from your manager?
- How well does your manager provide constructive feedback and recognition regarding your work?
- On a scale of one to five, with one being least satisfied and five being most, how satisfied are you with the frequency and format of communication from your manager?
- How could your manager improve communication with the team or individuals?
Questions about managerial and leadership skills
Surveying employees about managerial and leadership skills provides valuable insights that drive organizational improvements, enhance employee satisfaction, and contribute to a positive workplace culture.
- How would you rate your manager’s ability to provide clear and understandable directions and expectations for your tasks and responsibilities?
- Very Poor
- Do you feel comfortable approaching your manager with questions, concerns, or ideas? Why or why not?
- In your opinion, how effectively does your manager provide constructive feedback to help you improve your performance?
- How does your manager demonstrate and promote teamwork, collaboration, and a positive work atmosphere among the team?
- To what extent does your manager lead by example and exhibit the values and behaviors that reflect the organization’s mission and culture?
- Not at All
- To a Small Extent
- To a Large Extent
Questions about manager and leader effectiveness
The insights gained from questions about a manager’s effectiveness can drive positive change, enhance leadership practices, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.
- Can you describe a specific instance where your manager’s leadership positively impacted your work or the team’s performance?
- In your opinion, what are the key strengths of your manager’s leadership style? How do these strengths contribute to the team’s success?
- Please share any areas where you believe your manager could improve their communication with the team. What suggestions do you have to enhance this aspect?
- Could you provide an example of a situation where your manager effectively resolved a conflict or disagreement within the team? How did their approach contribute to a resolution?
- What actions does your manager take to foster a sense of inclusion and teamwork among team members? How do these actions impact the overall team dynamic?
Questions about trust and respect from management
Creating a culture of trust and mutual respect inspires more authentic communication, reduces interpersonal conflict, and ultimately improves retention rates by supporting a more positive work environment.
- To what extent do you feel that your managers genuinely listen to your opinions and value your input when making decisions? Could you provide an example that reflects this dynamic?
- In your interactions with management, how often do you perceive a high level of transparency and openness in sharing information about company updates, changes, and decisions? Can you recall a recent instance that demonstrates this transparency?
- Do you believe your managers treat all team members fairly and without bias? Could you share an experience or observation that reinforces this belief?
- From your perspective, how well does management acknowledge and appreciate your contributions and efforts? Can you provide an example that illustrates their recognition of your work?
- Can you describe a situation where management effectively addressed a concern or issue you raised, making you feel valued and respected? How did their response contribute to your overall perception of their leadership?
Questions about mentorship and support from management
Asking employees about mentorship and support from management demonstrates the organization’s commitment to employee development and well-being and helps build a supportive and nurturing work environment.
- Have you experienced any form of mentorship or guidance from your direct manager or other leaders within the organization? If so, could you provide an example of how this mentorship positively impacted your work or professional growth?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how well does your manager provide you with opportunities for skill development and learning? Could you share a recent instance where your manager supported your learning journey?
- Do you feel comfortable approaching your manager or other leaders for advice or assistance when faced with challenges or questions related to your role? Can you recall a situation where you received helpful guidance or support?
- From your perspective, how effectively does management recognize and utilize the strengths of each team member? Can you provide an example of how your manager has leveraged your strengths to benefit the team or a project?
- In your interactions with management, how often do you perceive a genuine interest in your career goals and aspirations? Can you share a time when a manager actively supported your professional ambitions?
Questions about professional development support
Employee satisfaction increases when team members feel valued and like their organization is investing in their professional development. Collecting feedback on this aspect helps ensure that managers are actively contributing to employees’ skill enhancement and long-term career success.
- In your interactions with your manager, how often do you discuss your professional development goals and plans? Can you recall a situation where your manager actively contributed to shaping your development strategy?
- Do you feel that your manager encourages and supports your participation in training programs, workshops, or conferences that contribute to your professional development? Can you provide an example of when your manager facilitated such participation?
- To what extent does your manager provide opportunities for skill development and learning that align with your career path? Could you provide an example of a skill development opportunity your manager has facilitated?
- How well does your manager provide feedback on your performance and offer guidance on areas for improvement or growth? Can you share an example of a time when your manager’s feedback positively impacted your development?
- Does your manager actively discuss your career goals and aspirations with you during one-on-one meetings? Please share an example of a time when your manager supported your professional growth.
Questions about work-life balance
Happy employees are less distracted, more productive, and less likely to pursue professional opportunities outside of your organization, so it’s important to understand how your team members feel about work-life balance.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your current work-life balance? Can you provide specific reasons for your rating?
- How often do you feel that your workload is manageable and allows you to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life? Can you share an example of a time when you felt this balance was well-maintained?
- Do you feel comfortable discussing your work-life balance needs with your manager? Can you provide an instance where your manager was responsive to your concerns about work-life balance?
- Are you provided with the necessary tools, resources, or flexibility to accommodate your personal commitments outside of work? Can you share a situation where this support was particularly beneficial to you?
- In your opinion, how well does the organization promote a culture that values work-life balance? Can you provide an example of a policy, initiative, or practice that positively contributes to this culture?
Issuing manager feedback surveys reflects an organization’s commitment to employee well-being, development, and overall success and offers valuable insights that empower leadership to make improvements tailored to their team’s needs.