The Fatal Flaw with 360 Surveys – Marcus Buckingham #HR #authenticleadership


I should love 360 degree surveys. I really should. After all, my research, and that of many others, reveals that the best managers and leaders are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and have taken steps to capitalize on the former and neutralize the latter. And the ubiquitous 360 degree survey — our reality check of last resort — can be a powerful tool for increasing this self-awareness.

And yet I still think all but a very few 360 degree surveys are, at best, a waste of everyone’s time, and at worst actively damaging to both the individual and the organization. We could stop using all of them, right now, and our organizations would be the stronger for it.

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My problem with 360s is not the quality of the feedback given to the leader. On the contrary, I’ve seen some extraordinary coaches use 360 results as the jumping off point for insightful and practical feedback sessions. Nor is my problem that most 360 feedback focuses predominantly on the gaps between what the leader thinks are his strengths and what everyone else thinks. We know from a wealth of applied psychological research that the group of people whose own self-ratings match up most closely with others’ ratings are people who are clinically depressed. (The best leaders always slightly inflate their scores, a finding called “benevolent distortion.”) Nor, finally, do I much care that most 360 surveys are built on a logical non-sequitur: namely that since a particular group of exemplary leaders possesses all the competencies measured by the 360, therefore the best individual leader is she who possesses all of them.

Read full article via The Fatal Flaw with 360 Surveys – Marcus Buckingham – Harvard Business Review.

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2 comments on “The Fatal Flaw with 360 Surveys – Marcus Buckingham #HR #authenticleadership
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