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Evaluating Your Leadership? Don't Look in the Mirror

March 31, 2011 | Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Grimes

Part of growing up as a leader is evaluating where you're at - how you're performing - to determine what you need to work on in order to improve.  It's pretty easy to look in the mirror and think about what your strengths and weaknesses are, but I'm beginning to realize exactly how valuable it can be to get someone else's perspective.  In fact, the more opinions you can tap, the better.  The Army has a system that allows for providing anonymous evaluation and feedback from superiors, peers, and subordinates.  We call it Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback ("360 degree assessment") and it's available for Army folks at  Completing a 360 degree assessment is part of the curriculum requirement for ILE and I just got my results.  In addition to a self-evaluation, survey/feedback forms are sent out to a handful of folks you've worked with in the past and they are encouraged to give honest (and anonymous) feedback.  I just got the results back from mine.

I'm still mulling the results, but the most interesting (and useful) thing I've found is that I'm not communicating with my folks as well as I'd thought.  There are other things I need to work on, but getting feedback to my folks is REALLY important and something I need to improve. 

As I dig through this evaluation some more and talk to some folks about what it means, I'll report back with my plan for improvement.  In the meantime, somebody want to point me in the right direction?

1 Comment

  • David Henderson
    4/15/2012 8:42 PM
    I had my first experience with Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback (MSAF) only a month or so prior to coming to ILE. I was the receiver of one of the requests for feedback. After seeing how comprehensive the questions were, I knew it was something I should do. It worked out well that when I received the welcome packet for the course that it was required anyway.

    So after doing the self-assessment and carefully selected an assortment of peers, subordinates, and superiors, it was time to wait for the responses to roll in. I was surprised to see that more than half of those I sent the request to failed to provide feedback. I know that everyone is busy, and it seems like we always get “invited” to participate in surveys to help improve the Army. These were people I knew and respected, though. I have to say I was a little disappointed, but that’s for another time; on to the results.

    The first thing you get is a roll-up of the statistical averages from the multiple-choice answers. They graph them for you so you can compare you self-evaluation with how you are viewed by your peers, subordinates, and superiors. That is interesting, but the most benefit comes from the two blocks where each responder, in his/her own words, tells you what your strength are and what you need to work on.

    If you are anything like me, the strengths listed only confirm what you already knew. The real benefit it that last question. I was surprised to learn that I don’t do enough to mentor my subordinates. Now that it has been pointed out to me…it is absolutely right. I would do an initial counseling, and the required evaluations, but that’s about it. This is something I need to work on. Thanks to this simple tool (MSAF) I’m a little more self-aware, and I will hopefully be a better leader for it.

    David Henderson
    MAJ, EN
    CGSC 12-002, SGB
    Ft Gordon, GA

    “The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.”

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