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Just Egg My House

I’m generally a huge proponent of multi-source feedback…360 degrees…whatever you wanna call it. Feedback strictly from one person or from the top down tells just a part of the story. And performance (or development) is not about – cannot be about – part of the story. But here’s the deal, y’all. Most of you clowns mess it all up by doing one thing: keeping it anonymous. And I think it’s unconscionable.

By allowing employees to provide feedback directly about an individual’s performance – their strengths, their weaknesses, their successes and failures – without requiring them to stand up and take ownership for that feedback is tantamount to giving the inmates the keys to the asylum. It’s childish, counter-productive. It becomes a petri dish for passive-aggressive behavior. It’s company sanctioned gossip.

Whatever happened to “if you can’t say it to their face, don’t say it at all?” What about having a good old fashioned sit-down? If you have a problem with me, I’m one hundred bajillion times more likely to do something about it if you come into my office and sit down and tell me about it…I don’t care who you are, what your role is, or what your agenda is. Just come on in and sit down and talk to me like an adult. If you let loose on me through some cloaked survey tool, your feedback ain’t even worth the grain of salt I’ll inevitably be told to take it with.

Why don’t you just come over and egg my house under the cover of darkness? You’ll still be a coward, but at least you’ll have some fun doing it.

Image Credit: Great Beyond (via Compfight)

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  • http://twitter.com/jrkuhns Jay Kuhns

    Love the challenge Charlie, as long as the leader has set the stage that its okay to give critical feedback. Sadly, some folks still believe that because they have a fancy job title they can do no wrong and don’t receive criticism well. Once the foundation is set for an open forum, the anonymous comments need to be jettisoned for good.

  • Anonymous

    jay, if it’s up to the Leader to “set the stage that its okay to give critical feedback” then sadly it may never happen. it’s up the organization at large to embrace this philosophy, to sing its praises, to wave the flag, and to walk the talk. sometimes we HR professionals have to take the lead in sparking that energy and edging our leaders toward what they should understand is right for their own success. and if they can’t get there, maybe they aren’t really leaders.

  • Rachael

    Amen… I have long insisted that any 360 I run will not be anonymous…

  • Buzz Rooney

    Awesome, Charlie. I agree wholeheartedly. I am working on a 360 feedback project and it stalled because we disagree about this exact thing.

    I think Internet and even social media has made people comfortable with throwing eggs anonymously without having to take responsibility for their words and their impact. It’s cowardice bullshit! If someone’s livelihood is dependent on what you say, you better take it serious and you better own and be accountable for every word. And your words better be geared at improvement, not just tearing someone down.

    If feedback doesn’t allow for this, it is useless to everyone. We all need to man up in this regard!

  • Anonymous

    struck a nerve, buzz?

  • Anonymous

    thanks for fightin’ the good fight.