Time to Be Honest: Are You Really an “Askhole” Boss?

Are you an “askhole” boss?

The actual definition of an askhole is someone who constantly solicits feedback or opinions, and then goes ahead and does whatever they were going to do in the first place, basically treating the feedback that you solicit as if it were never given is being an askhole.

Sad to say, bosses are very often guilty of this.

The signs of being an askhole boss are so common, that it can be hard to identify through self-assessment, so I’ve taken a moment to define some of the characteristics so that leaders can more accurately reflect on the issue.

3 clues that this may be you

The tools, processes and latest best practices for soliciting feedback from employees actually seem to be working! Employees who are empowered with a voice, either through reviews, surveys or open door communication polices, are taking advantage of these opportunities.

Leaders have learned how to tap into their workforces and discover what makes them tick, but that’s not where this dialogue ends.

You might be an askhole boss if:

1. You don’t show value or appreciation for the information that you solicit from workers.

Nearly half (49 percent) of employees in a survey revealed that they would leave their current job for a company that recognized employees for their efforts and their contributions. I think it’s safe to say that figure includes recognition for feedback, opinions and suggestions.

The information gathered from surveys, reviews or even a quick conversation, can be valuable to improving processes, practices and productivity, it should be treated as the valuable data that it is. Anytime you solicit information or feedback, it should be acknowledged.

2. You wait too long to implement the changes based off of the information solicited.

Even if you’re not really an askhole, looking like one can have the same negative effects on workplace morale.

Let’s say you’ve just launched your annual company-wide employee survey. Your team, most likely HR, still has to gather, organize and prioritize this information while fulfilling their normal job requirements, all before the information can actually be used to make changes.

Annual surveys can end being such a mountain of a task, that when the change finally occurs, it is probably too late. This is why experts suggest short, frequent, incentivized surveys; they allow leaders to collect information in a timely manner and in a manageable way.

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Deloitte research from a 2014 survey revealed that 78 percent of business leaders rate retention and engagement urgent or important. Doesn’t it make sense to make the changes that lead to higher retention and engagement rates a priority?

3. You don’t try to hide your, “When is this person going to stop talking, I have better things to do” face.

Do you know why you should make a worker feel as if their input counts? Because it does!

Have you ever asked someone the simple question, “How are you doing today?” We have been trained to ask this question mindlessly, and respond in the same generic fashion. It is almost considered weird if we give a response deeper than, “Good, and you?”

This is not genuine, nor is it communication. It’s not okay to solicit information, and then be rude when you get it. So the answer is to not ask at all? Wrong.

You gotta care about the responses

Genuine leadership is about taking the generic, mindless conversation out of the equation. You should ask how someone is, because you care about him or her, not because it’s a business pleasantry. If you genuinely don’t care how they are, you should care about their projects, their needs from the standpoint of a facilitator, and what you can do to increase their changes of success.

Ask questions that lead to those answers, and care about the responses.

This employee-centric movement that is inverting the hierarchical pyramid in business can work, but the changes have to be genuine. If retention and engagement are weighing so heavily on business owner’s minds, they should be treating employee feedback like the treasure it is.

It’s one thing to say that your talent is your most valuable asset, it’s quite another to show it.

A life, career and business coach with over a decade of leadership experience. Melissa has led teams in companies ranging from travel to fundraising to small business apps. One of Melissa's clients is Herd Wisdom, a company that has developed an app that helps incorporate employee engagement as part of a corporate culture.

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