Tag Archives: Peer

Why 360 degree Evaluation has more Pitfalls than Prizes!

Everything has its pluses and minuses; so does 360 degree evaluation system! Feedback is always good and welcome; but the systems and methods of giving the same do not necessarily serve us well. It is also not that its pluses and minuses would be equal in number or magnitude. 360 degree evaluation or assessment has gained mass appeal and hence most organizations and individuals put their faith in it; but that is blind folded, unless its prizes and pitfalls are understood! Let us also not forget, what appeals to most is generally a mistake!!

Upside of 360 degree Evaluation system

  1. Provides great opportunity to learn “what is the impression and opinion of people, with whom you are involved – supervisor, sub-ordinates, peers, co-workers and customers, about you”.
  2. An occasion for self – analysis and assessment.
  3. Possibility of correcting your own perception.
  4. Helps you to chart out a course to change and improve.
  5. But, what is generally not understood or spoken about is:
    Beneficiaries are also those, who give the feedback!
    Normally, people carry vague ideas about others, even if they have been dealing and interacting with others for years. Process of calibrating a feedback actually helps the people to crystallize their thoughts about how and why they think or perceive others in one way or another. That, in turn, helps them tremendously in better understanding and improving their relationship with others!

Downside of the system

Evaluate now the Evaluation system carefully:

  1. Giving feedback is equivalent to making a fair judgment of other’s attitude, behavior, competence and performance.
    How good the people are at above? Unfortunately, most are not!
  2. Quality of feedback is directly related to quality and characteristics of the people giving it. A bad quality can completely overshadow good quality of the person, for whom feedback is intended!
    But, the reverse is not true i.e. good quality of assessor would never favor or protect bad qualities of one being assessed!!
  3. Psychologically, the opinions and impressions of humans are mainly dictated by last 1 or 2 instances or experiences; whereas, need for good feedback has to be governed by observations and understanding over a good length of period!
    So, very often feedback is completely misplaced in view of above limitation, which most are unable to overcome.
  4. More than 90% of people on our planet suffer from biases. Therefore, their impressions bear more imprints of their biases than real performance and potential of the person, for whom feedback is intended!
  5. If one being assessed has too good or too bad performance, people would usually lack courage to put the same in writing. Instead, they prefer to dilute it.
  6. Research and analysis show that most tend to tick around the center of the scale for a given parameter or question.
  7. Even if feedback survey is made anonymous, the assessor tends to believe that one being assessed (i.e. assesse) may somehow figure out his/her name. So, assessor has tendency to please him/her, even when that is not warranted.
  8. Often, it has been seen that if an assessor has heard of opinions of other people about the assesse, those become part of his/her opinion too and hence, feedback may lack honest assessment of one giving it!
  9. In many cases, assesse is requested to name or select his 360 degree assessors, except obviously for supervisor.
    It is but natural that assesse would select and name those, who he/she believes are favorable to him/her! This is a fact, most would not admit!
    Surprisingly, often your detractors may give you true feedback; but you would desist to choose them as your assessor!!
  10. Many assessors tend to be goody type and hence, their feedback is generally good; but not honest.
    It is not a joke; but a reality – many give feedback in the spirit of “give and take”. So, give good one and get back likewise now or later!

What to discern out of 360 degree?

So, there are more pitfalls than prizes in 360 degree Evaluation system!

However good the feedback system or methods may be designed, these would work well only if:

  • We become free from biases.
  • We are sincere, serious and conscious in making fair judgment on others.
  • We realize our responsibility as assessor or assesse and own it.
  • We have character and courage to be candid.
  • We treat feedback as mirror image of what we are in others’ eyes and accept/respect it!

Very pertinent point, which emerges out of above, is that both assesse and assessor benefit from good quality feedback!

Lastly, those, who are conscious to change and become better, believe in figuring out feedback from the response or reaction of others for their own attitude and actions on-the-spot. They do not wait for a formal feedback. As a rule, formal feedback, if given scrupulously, cannot spring any surprise to such people!!

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What you think in Bedroom travels to Boardroom!

Warning – We are not taking about what you do in bedroom travels to boardroom. This is a universally applicable script; not an adult one. It is about our character and thoughts at Home or Work, Private or Public place.

Often, we tend to think that we can switch on or off our traits or thought process from home to office or vice versa. This is completely misplaced. You may, at the most, hide your feelings or expressions; but what drives these, does not change. It is an exaggerated notion that you can compartmentalize your character, barricade your behavior and thereby keep them insulated from one place to another.

What is really different at Home and Work

Home and Work differ only by “Environments and Requirements”! As a result:

  • Home gives freedom; Work can give fear – fear of performance, profit/losses, image and so on.
  • Home brings comfort; Work brings discomfort of compliances.
  • At Home, you have lifelines; at Work you have deadlines.
  • At Home, you shape others’ destiny (spouse, children..); at Work, others shape your destiny.
  • At Home, you have partner’s pressure or pleasure; at Work you have peer pressure.
  • At Home, you can boss around or be bossed; at Work, you invariably have bosses (except for your own business).

You, as much as anyone else, are the common entity at both places and subjected to differing “environments and requirements”. But, the way “rules apply and work” do not differ at Home or Work. What varies is only your response.

So, remember – at private or professional places, same Rules apply; but your Responses vary! You do always carry seamlessly your approach and attitude, pleasures and pains to these “environments and requirements” from one place to another and back. If you have been stressed at work, you may try to hide at home; but let there be no illusion that it has not traveled home with your mind. And reverse is also true.

Why “What you think” travels from Home to Work and back

Look at what drives your thoughts and in turn actions:

Your information and consciousness –> your character –> your thoughts/action

You are a unique character and regardless where you are, irrespective of your environments or requirements, your character would not change on its own. It is because of this, whatever you may do, you would carry your thoughts and corresponding actions everywhere with you.

Then, what makes you to behave differently at Home and Work

Your behavior is essentially a response. Response comes from:

Character + Emotions –> Thoughts/actions + Emotions –> Response i.e. behavior.

From above, you can see that your character cannot change on its own. What changes are your emotions and hence behavior. This is the key!

You can, now, relate lot of examples, where behavior changes by 180 degree due to emotional aspects:

  • A husband very caring at home, behaves as a bad boss at Work, because of his biases (emotional aspect) against sub-ordinates.
  • One is seen as introvert before spouse; extrovert before sub-ordinates, because his spouse is dominating!
  • Person is dis-organized at Home; but very organized at Work, which is actually not by his/her character; it is by fear factor!
    If a person’s character is of good planning and organization, he/she is bound to be that way both at Work and Home!!

Examples of split personality and dual behavior

As a corollary, I come to a very important aspect, why people show dual behavior.

A wrong perception prevails worldwide that people having split personality have dual character. Their character is one and only one; what split their personality are their different emotions under different “Environments and Requirements”! Examples:

  • A manager displays broad mindedness, pragmatic views and people friendly approach before his management.
    But, for his team members, he is autocratic, believes in favoring few and mistrusting most.
    His 1st set of actions is driven by his ambition to go up or fear of getting pulled down (emotional aspects). On the other hand, 2nd set of actions exhibits his feeling of insecurity. Common factor is his character – weak personality and poor confidence.
  • Someone preaches simple living and high standards; but in his private life, he does exactly opposite.
    He is plagued by his love for praises and popularity. Character wise, he is dishonest.
  • A person likes to pick faults in others; but does not agree with his own. Emotionally, he is an egoist!
  • An employee respects his senior, as much as he respects household help at home. Emotionally, he is compassionate and by character, he is consistent.

Look at above example carefully. First 3 bullets show negative characters of persons and dual behavior/split personality! Last bullet shows positive character but no split behavior!!

What is the take-away?

  1. Your character does not change, whether you are in bedroom or boardroom!
  2. What changes is your emotions, which reflect as changes in your behavior or response.
  3. Positive aspects of your character would make you consistent and credible.
  4. Negative aspects of your character, just one or more, would result in your split personality or dual behavior and cost you dearly.
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