Who will tell you if you run around naked?
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Who will tell you if you run around naked?

Who of your staff will tell you if you run around naked?

The getabstract summary * of the book 360 Feedback from Edwards and Ewen (1996) starts off with  the story of the naked king who – having been tricked by a traveling tailor – thinks he wears a beautiful clothing. Out of fear his subordinates do not tell the King that he is naked but instead admire his wonderful clothes. Only after he asked his staff for anonymous feedback, the emperor finds out that he is actually running around naked – wearing only his birth suit.

This story shows the need for leaders to get honest feedback from their subordinates.

The 360 feedback is a very elaborate feedback system to receive feedback from subordinates, peers, and others, which requires a lot of preparation, maintanence, time, money, and manpower. Much cheaper, often more effective, and easier to administer is to have a handful of trusted employees who are not afraid to tell you eye to eye to save your skin and your face: „Man you are naked! Take my shirt while I look for a pair of trousers for you.” 

My favorite quote from the book summary:

No organizational action has more power for motivating employee behavior change than feedback from credible work associates.

*: The special shared link allows everyone to read the full summary for three days.