Are You Reading My Blog?

HBR readblog

“It’s clear that Wilson’s the only person here who reads my blog.”

This Paul Wood comic, which appeared in Harvard Business Online, got me thinking again about the nature of manager blogs. As I posted before, if a manager is going to write a blog, the manager should write it themselves. But should the manager’s employees read it?

Clearly employees shouldn’t be forced to read a manager’s blog but it could give employees a clue as to what the manager thinks is important. In addition if a manager is spending time writing a blog, they may be leading by example. Of course, they may just be trying out an online experiment.

What do you think? Do you read your manager’s blog?

(Note: This is a personal blog, not a work one.  No one who works for me should feel obligated to read it. Same for following on twitter @jbecher)

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26 Responses to Are You Reading My Blog?

  1. ggw_bach January 12, 2009 at 12:10 am #

    I think for company cohesion that sort of feedback would be good. Knowing what your manager thinks.

  2. JOSEPHINE EDET January 12, 2009 at 12:27 am #

    i want to find a place to write a blog about a personal tragedy that happende to me 2 months ago.

  3. Robert E January 12, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    Going up my organizational tree, none of my managers or bosses have a blog. Too bad, it would be great to read what they are thinking, not just ‘reading tea leaves’ and hanging about the watercooler trying to pick up clues about them.

    There are only a couple of business-oriented blogs that I regularly read that are written by “bosses”. One is the CEO of a publishing house and I get a very good feel for what he is thinking as well as get to see him as a real person, since he also covers his personal interests and enthusiasms.

    Another blog is by a guy I know that manages a group at his company. His blogs are infrequent and just read like a variation on a press release. I don’t get any feel, at all, about who he is and let’s just say the information in his posts would be more lagging information than leading.

    I’d like to point to your comment from the last post, about how you feel you are better at leading than at managing. I don’t think managers will write blogs – they write emails. Only people who look at leading will have the discipline and the vision to create and keep adding to a blog. Writing a blog gives a certain transparency to the writer that a manager might not be willing to display. Not to mention a transparency that maybe the writer doesn’t want his or her boss to see. (Pondering my own writer’s block -we all answer to someone)

    I might not read my boss’s blog if it was primarily about, say, sports. But if any of them were writing about business and their views on it – yes, I’d be reading.

    I already use the tips and advice from this blog, as well as that publishing house CEO’s blog. Maybe not all of the leadership, to follow by example, has to come from your direct manager or boss.

    • Jonathan January 12, 2009 at 11:43 am #

      Robert: Very happy to hear that the tips and advice from this blog have proved useful. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, some times this feels like shouting into the wilderness; interactive discussions are so much more satisfying. I especially like your point that leaders might be more likely to blog than managers. Perhaps the discipline of management will evolve over time to include informal communications.

  4. creativedifference January 13, 2009 at 7:12 am #

    I’m not currently a manager, and have only just discovered blogging, but I’m in full agreement with Robert above. As well as improving communications and giving insight/humanity, its also a forum for interactive discussion outside the rush of operations and hitting the numbers. I find that a blog is a space for learning and reflection, and exploration.

    I know 2 leaders who use Blogs for their staff – one was about management ideas but staff on a training program were more or less forced to read and comment on it and the comments were brief and careful. The other was much more personal and linked into the company intranet – this was more interesting, but could have benefited from more ideas and focus on the business to stimulate discussion.

    My particular interest is in the Blog for the interaction of ideas and learning – which I’d agree is much more about leadership than management.

  5. Timo Elliott January 14, 2009 at 7:07 am #

    “Yes” 🙂

    (I work for Jonathan).

  6. Guy Knight January 14, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    I follow blogs for the subject matter and as mentioned by previous responders this is about leadership.

    In my situation, I use your blog as training material for my associates and peers. As I am in the development spectrum of Stategy Management it is easy for my mates to not see the big picture (classic – can’t see the forest for the trees). A example is your blog on SMART objectives. Focus on results not activities.

  7. Steve January 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm #

    I don’t read my manager’s blog because it’s just not very interesting. I read yours because you seem to have a decent mix of theory, tactical advice, and humor. Actually, my manager suggested I read your blog. I think he met you at a conference.

    Would be nice if you posted more examples of how to design KPIs that are more than acticity metrics. Those are very helpful.

  8. Rani January 14, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

    I like to read blogs that have interesting ideas expressed. It gives me an insight into the bloggers mind and how they think.

    The blogs that have a diverse community of readers posting comments is also very interesting because then a rich dialogue develops.

  9. Paul Ritchie January 15, 2009 at 6:27 am #

    Hi Jonathan,
    My group and extended team know that I have a blog, and a few of them follow it (it surely isn’t required reading). In fact, I’ve had some excellent comment threads with them.

    However, many of the themes in my blog reflect my business priorities, so there shouldn’t be discontinuities between my blog and business communications. Perhaps I think “out loud” about some topics via the blog first, but it works both ways (business first, then blog).

    It is somewhat sad to read some of the comments above… I hope that my colleagues don’t feel like they need to read entrails to divine my intentions.

  10. Stannie Holt January 21, 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    I not only read but bookmark your blog, along with Guy Kawasaki’s.
    I work for someone who works for you — does that count? 😉

  11. Steve January 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    Most people that blog are vain. They just want other people to read about them and care what they say. I wouldn’t want my bosses to blog. There’s too much stuff to read anyway.

  12. Oski February 4, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    #1 reason a manager should encourage his reports to read his blog is to solicit true and honest feedback on his ideas and direction.

    A blog offers the opportunity for several levels of the chain of command to have a conversation that would never happen in real life; and certainly not with the degree of candor that is necessary for ideas to compete on their individual merits

  13. ecommobboum March 4, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    Excellent site and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here: this .. as it’s taken me literally 3 hours and 27 minutes of searching the web to find you (just kidding!) so I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂

  14. RaiulBaztepo March 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  15. Dan Pontefract January 6, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I have a work blog and a personal blog, but both relate to the same thing – my profession.

    I expect contributions/comments on my work blog, because I often use it in a ‘webjam’ way … soliciting opinion and feedback on innumerable issues and opportunities.

    My personal blog (albeit profession related) is for my external community. If someone from within my current team wants to read it – great – but it’s not an expectation.

    Oh, and I’d like to work for you one day. 🙂

  16. Jonathan January 6, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Dan, I consider this my personal blog and I have a separate work one ( Like you, they both relate to my profession although the personal one does wander to other territory from time to time.

    As for the job situation, maybe we can work that out…

  17. Andy Hasselwander January 7, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    I think manager’s blogs are really useful to understand where the manager’s head is. I’m pretty much aligned with you here… if employees want to understand you better, they’ll read it. What I really like is the idea of collaborative team blogs. I’ve tried this idea before without much success, but the idea is that everyone posts on the same theme. So for this one, you’d sort of be “lead poster” and then team members would post around it, like a wiki-blog.

  18. Jeff March 25, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    I report to Jonathan… and I read this blog not to suck up… but rather to help understand perspectives and hot-buttons (and I find it interesting).

  19. SarahM March 25, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    You Know it! 🙂

  20. markyolton September 14, 2011 at 9:53 am #

    My hand’s up as a reader.

    And if I had hair, it would be up, too …

    (reference the above cartoon…)

  21. Megan December 11, 2014 at 10:40 am #

    If you work for a company that you support and are truly engaged with, then there wouldn’t even be a place to ask this question. Naturally, an engaged employee would want to read the blog, would find it informative, and would be happy to share it. If your company culture isn’t creating this grass roots effort you may want to take a step back and ask why.

  22. Jawad December 11, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    Since I have been associated with SAP ERP for over 10 years now, I find writing and sharing my posts on LinkedIn as a great way to share my expertise (and lessons learned from the trenches) to benefit a large number of SAP community members!
    Although I have not tried but I am sure blogging at SCN can also convey one’s message to a large number of focus groups of SAP professionals.
    I am still debating and weighing in the option of having a “personal blog”! Not sure if the world will have much interest in my “personal” views and thoughts! 🙂
    I DO read your blog! 🙂

  23. Sylvia Santelli December 11, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    Well I don’t think it should be required, but if it’s a business blog then it’s in the best interest of the team to read the bosses blog, just like reading e-mails. It’s a form of communication in an effort to exchange ideas and information. Likewise, it’s in the best interest of the boss to read the team’s business blogs too. Probably a reminder that if managers want their blogs read, you shouldn’t treat it like the “required e-mails”– keep it relevant, interesting and succinct.

    Interesting discussion!

  24. paul volpe December 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

    Jon, I enjoy your blog posts even though it has been a while since we worked together 😉 They are insightful and typically brief so easy to digest. Keep them coming. I wouldn’t use them to publicly discuss ideas if we worked together, but I would read them for insight into your thinking absolutely. Hope you are well!

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