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How Personality Can Derail 360-Degree Feedback and Performance Appraisals

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Does your organization use 360-degree feedback or other types of performance appraisals? How would you rate your employees’ abilities to give and receive feedback? For most, these skills are difficult to master.

I’ve covered this topic before examining how our brains respond to performance feedback, but additional research suggests personality could also influence the success of 360-degree feedback or other types of performance appraisals.



Receiving 360-Degree Feedback

Research from Hogan Assessment Systems has shown that personality is a key determinant of how someone will receive feedback. The company’s personality assessment examineswhat they call “the darkside of personality” by focusing on a person’s derailers, overused strengths, and toxic characteristics.


Their research has observed that different personalities respond to conflict in one of three ways:


1. Moving Away From Others

For example, Excitable personalities (people who are passionate and enthusiastic) can also be easily frustrated and moody, tend to blame the messenger, and get upset in response to conflict. On the other hand, Leisurely personalities, people who are usually friendly, cooperative, and unhurried, might pretend to agree with feedback so the giver will go away.


2. Moving Against Others

Bold personalities are fearless and confident but can become entitled and arrogant, which in a feedback situation can make them combative and unable to admit to mistakes. Mischievous personalities are bright, impulsive, adventurous, and limit-testing, and when presented with conflict, they might attempt to use their charm to gain favor or persuade the other person.


3. Moving Toward Others

Diligent personalities are hardworking, detail-oriented perfectionists. When these strengths are overused, these people become inflexible, get wrapped up in the details, and feel the need to take control of the interaction. Dutiful personalities, people who are agreeable and loyal, can seem cooperative when faced with feedback, but they fail to engage with the feedback or assume responsibility.


Giving 360-Degree Feedback

Just as our personality can impact our ability to receive feedback, it can also affect our ability to give it. Referencing the Myers-Briggs personality assessment, Ph.D. and executive coach Marcia Ruben points out that how we process information (thinking or feeling) plays a role in how we give feedback.


Thinking Style

If you exhibit the thinking style, you make decisions based on logic and analysis. You consider the problem first, while the people come in second. This process is rational and impartial. Feedback givers who prefer the thinking style are typically good at identifying flaws, while being oblivious to emotional cues. The result? The thinking feedback giver can leave the receiver feeling hurt without realizing it.


Feeling Style

If you exhibit the feeling style, you consider people first, deprioritizing the problem. You are more likely to provide positive feedback and appreciation and avoid giving a critique or corrective feedback. The result? The feeling feedback giver can over-empathize with the receiver or give them a false sense of accomplishment.


What else impacts the success of employee feedback? Download our comprehensive employee feedback guide below and help your employees effectively prepare for 360-degree feedback and performance appraisals.


Free ebook! A Practical Guide to Giving and Receiving Employee Feedback With a Growth Mindset!



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