Thursday, April 16, 2009

In Praise of 360 Degree Feedback

Military officers operate under powerful incentives to conform to senior officers’ views, even if those views are out of touch with reality. Our organizational culture of conformity is likely to allow these arguments to go unchallenged. Our senior leaders are not bad people, but they work in a bad system that rewards the wrong behaviors.

If we desire creative intelligence and moral courage from our officers, Congress must create a system that rewards these qualities. Civilian graduate education, especially in the social sciences, humanities, and languages, can strengthen the intellectual caliber and cultural literacy of our officer corps. Three-hundred sixty degree evaluations are more likely than the current system to identify morally courageous and innovative leaders. Our subordinates judge us every day, but we’ve created a system to make sure that promotion boards never hear those judgments, and our officer corps is worse for it. Some fear that 360 degree evaluations will become ‘popularity contests’ but in my experience those fears are unfounded. Troops admire leadership and despise pandering, and have a much better record than promotion boards of distinguishing between the two.

Read the entire article by clicking below.
Colonel Paul Yingling
Irregular Warfare and Adaptive Leadership

Presented to US Army Command and General Staff College on 2 April 2009.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Thank you for posting this. I spent some time searching for this yesterday but was sidetracked by some other interesting commentary. Funny thing about the web...start looking for one thing and look up a few hours later, never having found what you were looking for in the first place.

I agree that 360's can be a great tool to use. Like standing with mirrors in front, behind, and beside you reflecting your image from multiple perspectives. They can also be damaging when improperly used. It is important to use the power for good and not evil.

Again, thank you for the post, sir.