03 December 2008

bossman feedback

Esther Derby describes the usual failures of 360 feedback mechanisms endemic to large companies. i'm sure you know the type: ask gobs of people to fill out a Word document template and hope that at least one finds its way back.
360 Feedback Processes are an attempt to get feedback from different points of view. In my experience, these programs don't provide much actionable information. Its too easy to lob softballs or zingers, with no way for people to follow up.

I find that it's more useful to find out what's important to people and start a conversation.
my peeve with this process is that there is no conversation. from my experience, managers basically recognize responders as being reliable sources or not and simply accept or reject feedback without understanding what it even means (or if it's even true!). i have always asked those who want my feedback to give me a call and actually discuss the person being reviewed. i recommend the practice as it offers a means of asking probing questions about both positive and negative comments.

scavinger has wise words for all current and aspiring managers.
I think it could be boiled down even further...
  1. Learn to recognize when you're being a douche.
  2. Stop being a douche.
  3. Profit.


  1. Training can improve already good managers, but it can't create them from whole cloth. And it certainly can't alter entrenched personality traits.

  2. I agree that verbal communication is better then a form. There are many different communication types and the written word can be read so many different ways.

  3. Verbal communication is better *than* a form. So yes, I can see where you feel that way.