Quiz - Assess Your Management Style

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"Business2.0", located at http://www.business2.0.com tapped Stephen Covey's expertise to develop the following quiz.

Circle true or false responses to the 15 questions based on your gut reaction, not what you think you should say. Once you have completed the quiz, rate your answers. You may discover that several simple adjustments in behavior or attitude--or both--could help you transform your staff into a high-performance team.

  1. I sometimes get so busy that I miss internal appointments or forget to proofread my memos before sending them out. But that's understandable. Still, I expect my employees to arrive at meetings on time and to triple-check their work. TRUE FALSE
  2. It's best for employees to concentrate on their own duties. They don't need to know what I am doing or what their colleagues in the next department are working on. TRUE FALSE
  3. Our business strategy is built on the guiding principles of our company's mission statement. I expect everyone--from my office down to the loading dock--to evaluate opportunities and make decisions based on these tenets. TRUE FALSE
  4. Step-by-step instruction is the best way to make sure the job gets done right. TRUE FALSE
  5. It's important for me to know exactly what each of my employees is working on at any given time. TRUE FALSE
  6. I encourage my staff to come to me for sales leads and industry gossip. I often have connections or access to information they don't know about. TRUE FALSE
  7. Paying people well is the best way to motivate them. TRUE FALSE
  8. It's okay for an employee to draw the line on pricing and services if he or she feels that the client is trying to take advantage of the firm. TRUE FALSE
  9. It's crucial that employees know who at my company has the authority to make various decisions. TRUE FALSE
  10. I enjoy taking a break and getting away from the office. I can relax on vacations because my staff knows how to handle things when I'm gone. TRUE FALSE
  11. If someone is always late, I'm not likely to say anything until one day when I blow up without warning. TRUE FALSE
  12. When I ask an employee to do something unusual, such as waive a fee as a favor to a big client or work overtime, I explain why this is necessary. TRUE FALSE
  13. I know what's best for my clients because I keep in touch with their senior managers. It's my responsibility to share what I know with my employees and direct their activities. TRUE FALSE
  14. If I play golf or have lunch with a major customer and he tells me about a snafu with his last order, it's only natural that I lose my temper when I get back to work. That's a good way to keep my employees on their toes. TRUE FALSE
  15. I set explicit goals for my employees and then ask them to do their own year-end performance evaluations. I think that my people can critique themselves better than I could. TRUE FALSE


  1. FALSE. Your behavior, not expectations, sets the tone for a workplace. Don't expect anyone to adhere to your guidelines if you don't live by them yourself.
  2. FALSE. It is much more effective for each member of a team to understand how his or her assignments fit into the big picture. This helps employees prioritize their work and pace themselves.
  3. TRUE. Resources should never be stretched to accommodate pet projects--even yours--unless they are consistent with the firm's business goals.
  4. FALSE. This is tricky. It's usually best to spell out exactly what you expect, but not to dictate exactly how to get there. Always leave room for an employee to suggest a better way.
  5. FALSE. Keeping such close tabs on everyone is probably counterproductive. Competent workers should be given more discretion based on agreed-upon goals and objectives.
  6. TRUE. Let your staff know that you are a resource whenever they need advice or information.
  7. FALSE. A paycheck just buys their time. Employees want to feel valued and challenged. Try a simple thank-you.
  8. TRUE. People who feel a sense of self-determination in their jobs are usually happier and more committed--as well as more productive--than those employees who don't feel that their opinions count.
  9. TRUE. As long as clear limits have been set, everyone should be able to get the work done without constantly checking with you.
  10. TRUE. It's fine to touch base every day, as long as it's a quick check-in. Your colleagues should know where to find you if there's an emergency.
  11. FALSE. Warnings and intermittent advice are much more constructive than ambushing someone. There may be mitigating factors that are causing the employee's tardiness.
  12. TRUE. Working hard for a shared purpose is not only more effective but also more satisfying for all involved.
  13. TRUE. But make sure you're listening as well as talking. Your employees may have different, though valid, info from the troops about how things really work at your client's company.
  14. FALSE. Give your employees the benefit of the doubt, and get their side of the story before chewing them out.
  15. TRUE. It's uplifting to let people judge themselves, and in a high-trust culture it's more accurate. The key is to set agreed-upon goals, then allow people to measure their performance against marketplace realities.


For each correct answer, give yourself three points. 'If you've managed to stay in business for a while, odds are you're doing some things very well,' says Stephen Covey. No matter how you score, however, there's always room for improvement.

If you scored 36 to 45 points, you have an excellent understanding of what it takes to be a terrific leader. Congratulations! Just take a hard look at your behavior to be sure that you are actually doing all the things you know you should.

A score of 24 to 33 points means that you are doing pretty well--as long as you are consistently applying what you know.

If you picked up only 21 or fewer points, we suggest that you choose a couple of the questions you missed and set your sights on improving those areas. Don't try to do everything at once.

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