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Author's profile photo Gabriela Burlacu

This week: Honesty is the best policy when it comes to reviewing the performance of your manager

Members of SAP SuccessFactors’ Value Realization Research team are constantly reading up on the topics most important to you, your employees, and your managers. Each week we will be sharing an interesting finding we’ve read about to give you innovative and data-based ideas on how to better structure your HR processes and more effectively manage your workforce.

This week: Honesty is the best policy when it comes to reviewing the performance of your manager

Organizations utilize 360 degree reviews for a number of reasons, usually to aid in the development of employees by providing them with multiple perspectives of their performance. This tool is especially useful in developing leaders, as 360s can give them insight into how their actions and behaviors affect their subordinates. There is one catch: In order to be effective in changing leader behavior, feedback coming from subordinates needs to be truthful. In their experimental study recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Oc (Bocconi University) and colleagues examined the dynamic between leaders that make self-serving resource allocation decisions and subordinates that provide them with feedback. When subordinates provided honest feedback about their perceptions of the leaders’ decisions, the leaders tended to correct their behavior and make fairer decisions over time. However, when subordinates provided positive feedback regardless of how they truly felt, leaders tended to make increasingly self-serving decisions. These findings indicate that subordinates giving undue positive feedback, which is an all-too-common occurrence in 360 degree reviews, may be doing more harm than good in terms of aiding in the development of an effective and fair manager. Organizations utilizing 360 degree reviews will benefit from creating processes that allow employees to review their managers honestly without fear of repercussion.

For more information, access the research abstract and full article here.

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