Let me explain.
On the surface, two-way performance appraisals seem like a good thing. After all, who knows their boss better than his or her reports? Their feedback can help to inform his/her future performance and can give the boss’ line manager a much more rounded picture of the manager in question and their effectiveness.
That’s the theory.
But I know of a manager with two direct reports who had axes to grind. They were the sort who never had a good word to say about anyone and were completely focused on their own subversive agenda. Never in a million years were they going to give their manager anything other than destructive criticism. Their ‘feedback’ was taken on face value by the manager’s line management and suddenly he found himself in a 360 degree trap—unsupported from below and from above.
That’s one problem—and here’s another. What if the manager being appraised rules by fear? The honest feedback he or she so desperately needs to adjust their oppressive behavior is never going to happen because of his or her direct reports’ anxiety about reprisals.
Alternatives then, please, Frank?
First off, I say dispense with the forms and other paperwork. From time to time, a good leader should be able to invite a direct report to have an informal chat about their working relationship. Off the record. If the right atmosphere can be maintained, both sides should be able to have a frank and constructive exchange about what works—and what could be changed.
All of which needs the right corporate culture if it’s going to work. And that needs the Chief Executive to start the ball rolling.
What useful feedback might your Directors have to offer you?
Tags: 360 degree 360 degree appraisals 360 degree trap anxiety atmosphere axes boss chief executive constructive exchange corporate culture destructive criticism face value feedback fear good word honest feedback line management million years naivety paperwork performance appraisals reprisals