When it comes to human interactions, staying unbiased is no easy task. And that’s natural. We all click more with some individuals while we try to keep a professional attitude with others. And when talking about managers rating the performances of their employees in a biased manner, we can refer to the topic as the “Idiosyncratic Rater Effect.”
Now, even though the term seems hard to understand, the science behind it is not. It’s all about the little things, such as overvaluing people who remind us of ourselves or have a particular trait we like. And in contrast, not evaluating them fairly. This can happen due to looking at potential rather than performance or focusing too much on recent events. Either way, it’s not a professional approach and will backfire sooner or later. Because when a manager is evaluating the team in an Idiosyncratic Rater way, they can only be praising favoritism or unfair treatment.
The sad part is that this approach to handling performance reviews is not just a term picked from a manual book. No. The sad part is that research shows one-third of the rating variations result from such an approach.
But how can team leaders avoid falling into this trap? How can you stay 100% unbiased while still maintaining an emphatic mindset?
Well, first of all, you should get in touch with the team more often and not just once per year. Talking about their performance while offering and receiving feedback regularly will enable you to be open to new data points and insights. Furthermore, this will help you understand what is causing the boost of enthusiasm or the low performance. Because let’s be honest here. Regardless of how talented a person is, there are so many aspects that influence how an employee performs, aspects of which managers have no idea about. Such as a feud between team members, a communication misunderstanding, or even a management approach. But finding out these at the right time allows you to solve them and focus only on how the team performs, removing any biased thoughts.
So our advice for today’s topic is a very simple one - get in touch with your team as often as possible. Doing it on an annual basis or even on a quarterly one is a thing of the past. If you want to be a fair manager and rate their performance in an unbiased fashion, you need to stay connected with your team. You need to offer and accept feedback. You need to really understand their issues and let them know you are working on them. Simply put, you need to close the feedback loop and understand each other’s actions. Only by doing so will you create a work climate that will allow them to perform in such a way that won’t give you any reason for interpretation and, therefore, biased reviews.
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