I've been asked to give a 360 review of my manager. I'm to assign a numeric rating to a number of criteria, and explain my choice. The last two sections are strengths and weaknesses. What do I do? Do I try to honestly answer the weaknesses question, bring up trivial weaknesses, or sidestep the question altogether and say I'm not in a position to evaluate their weaknesses.

I have heard Mark mention in the podcast that a DR is not really in the best position to provide feedback on their manager. It just seems really dangerous to me to start talking about my manager's weaknesses.

Any thoughts?

Mark's picture
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I somehow had just assumed that we had released a cast on this.

We generally don't care for 360's...and yes, we know they are increasing in usage...though that's part of the problem.  Some are GREAT...and all are dangerous. 

Every situation is different.

1. Is this is a regular pattern in your firm?  Is it possible that this is remedial for your boss, and only for her/him?

2. Is the same firm - an outside firm - delivering it as has done so before?

3. How many of each types of people of each relationship will be responding: peers and directs and others?

4.  What do you know of the process by which he/she will be briefed and you will then also be briefed?

5. How would you characterize your relationship with your boss?

Tell me that, and I'll tell you what to do.


PS: We haven't said that directs are not in a position to provide (effective) feedback for managers; we've said it is fraught with danger and we don't recommend it.

rheinen's picture

1. I believe that all managers in our organization will be reviewed by at least some of their directs. It's definitely not remedial for my boss specifically.

2. The feedback is provided to a third party's online system, and we've used them for one previous round of 360s and performance reviews. His boss will most likely be sitting down with him and a printout of the feedback.

3. I don' t know the answer to this for sure, but I suspect I am one of only 2 or 3 directs reviewing him. There may be peer feedback as well, but I am not sure. I would be surprised if there were more than 4 or 5 people total.

4. I will most likely not be briefed, as only managers are being reviewed in this round. My manager will probably be provided a printout of the questions and "anonymous" responses to those questions.

5. My boss and I have a good relationship. There is no bad blood or conflict between us. He's a good guy, and I wouldn't expect retribution.

I certainly could have missed the cast - I don't recall you covering this topic directly although in the exit interview cast I thought I heard you say something about how you've touched on it before. I'll dig around and see if I can track it down.

Thanks for your input.

Mark's picture
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(you won't find the cast.  It's coming out in a few weeks)

Our primary guidance here is minimize risk.  The problem here is the number of directs responding.  There is NO WAY that any third party can possibly guarantee you true anonymity if there are only a couple of directs.

Sorry, but despite your relationship with your boss, I'd say minimize your risk.  No written comments unless positive.  No bottom answers on multiple choices.

CAUTION.  You do NOT have anonymity here.

jhack's picture

I've been "360'd" and while the answers were anonymous, it was surprisingly easy to associate the comments  with the people who wrote them.  

Turns of phrase, word choice, syntax and style are like fingerprints.  Anything you write will have your fingerprints. 

John Hack

rgbiv99's picture

I was out with my friends a couple of months ago and they were talking about starting a "Rate Your Boss" website where ex-directs could go on and bash their ex-bosses "anonymously." There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea, but I told them that if I asked all of my directs to write one paragraph about any topic, I would bet any amount of money that I could match it to the right person with 100% accuracy.

File this under: "Nothing is anonymous" and "You're not that smart and we're not that dumb."


Mark's picture
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...on this is due out in a few weeks.  And John and Kate's comments echo our guidance.

Nice job, folks!

rheinen's picture

I appreciate the input. Looking forward to the cast!

blackbeardrrr's picture
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Truly sorry for digging up an old thread. Sought, but did not find.

Can someone post a pointer to the podcast referred to in this thread?



Kevin1's picture

RRRR Blackbeard.

Here be the cast thy seekest.