Boss Gets Bad Reviews, Has Feelings

Greg Hoy is the CEO of the growing design firm Happy Cog. He’s written a thoughtful piece on Medium about finally giving in and participating in his company’s annual peer review process for the first time. The results? He kind of sucks.

If having your boss write a public journal entry where he discusses his shortcomings has ever been a dream of yours — and I know it’s been a dream of mine — you might find this very satisfying. Perhaps too satisfying.

My first reaction was surprise. Then defensiveness. Maybe a bit of anger. I thought things like, “Well, Steve Jobs had issues, but Apple turned out just fine. It’ll be ok, Greg. Grab a beer.”

So what came through loud and clear?

I can’t let go. Of basically anything. And I leave talented people looking for stuff to do because I won’t take the time to show them.

I make snap decisions without consulting others. I’m impatient.

I spend less and less time with each employee. Some know very little about me, and I about them.

I get defensive

I’m inconsistent

I handle disappointment poorly

Some employees might be scared of me

That last one almost brought me to tears, and it was mentioned by more than one person. While I was walking around selling myself as Mr. Approachable, I was actually, in all likelihood, someone people avoided eye contact with. How could I have gotten to this place? Next to my family, this company is the most important thing in my life, this company. I love it, and I love my coworkers. But they could be afraid of me? My God.

God, I love peer reviews. And work feelings. I miss them.

Also maybe this is Medium’s true calling: Livejournal for bosses. “I can’t let go, of basically anything.” Yes. Thank you, Boss. I think we have all learned a lot today.

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4 Comments / Post A Comment

OllyOlly (#669)

I hated the class at the time, but my undergrad business capstone class had peer review built into everything. We had to give mock persuasive pitches and then end to a sea of hands waiting to give comments on our performance. After our final presentations we received both a DVD to watch ourselves, and a written response from each classmate about how we did. It was terrifying, but I think learning to handle and want criticism is so important.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

Just being willing to participate in something like peer review shows a different mindset from a lot of managers. It’s impressive that he not only played along but took the feedback to heart. I’ve personally never seen management respond to criticism in my work life, unless that response was some sort of revenge.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@EvanDeSimone Most people only ask for the feedback when they assume there will be either none or all positive. I’d be wary to even give meaningful positive feedback to a supervisor instead of just kind of a “no complaints, all good!” nod.

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