What can be revealed of management behavior trough Psycon's 360 evaluations? Can management really be as simple as research evidence claims it to be?

My high school English teacher used to say that learning languages is easy. All you have to do is learn two things: the vocabulary and the grammar. According to the preliminary results of our latest follow-up study, the same seems to apply to management. You only need three things to be in order: the organization as a whole and the direction have to be clear, everyday decision-making has to be prompt, and motivation needs to be in place. Can management really be that simple? According to the results, this may really be the case ...

Psycon has had the good fortune to closely cooperate with a large Finnish company. The company has a well-functioning recruitment process and a systematic coaching program. Over the years, we have accumulated follow-up data on suitability assessment results as well as the management behavior of supervisors through 360 evaluations.  In addition, we have had access to ‘hard data’, i.e. the performance assessment information of the customer company (including hard financial figures).  The volume of data is so large that their statistical processing is reliable.

Over the years, we have accumulated follow-up data on suitability assessment results as well as the management behavior of supervisors through 360 evaluations.

We have previously made several analyses on the connection between various areas of personality and hard performance assessment data and, consequently, have managed to develop assessment practices. Now we have finally gathered large enough body of 360 data that we it was possible for us to study, for example, connections between the development of turnover and supervisor behavior.

From which angle to enter?

The variable to be explained in the first round of analysis was the development of turnover of units led by different individuals. Explaining variables included all the areas of 360 indicator with all their individual sections. The background concept framework is structurally largely compatible with the leadership model developed by Psycon; the various sections of the 360 indicator used have simply been adapted to describe visible management behavior.

What kinds of connections?

We lately presented the freshly completed results of the analysis to the representatives of the customer with the aim of contemplating future policies to hone selection criteria and coaching contents – since what could be a better foundation for development than reviewing the impact of measures taken.

It was initially perplexing to see a very strong correlation between the 360 assessment and the development of turnover. In retrospect, this seemed even self-evident (”... yes, of course it is like this ...”).  In the units where the development of turnover had exceeded the target level, the responsible supervisors had received better feedback grades for 

  • knowing how to take into account the overall benefit of the unit (this is what strategic leadership is about)

  • knowing how to organize daily activities promptly and efficiently (this is what daily operational management is about)

  • being in abundant interaction with their subordinates and coaching others to try their best (personnel management).

The correlation was extremely significant and indisputable. By the way, the supervisor’s own assessment was excluded from the analysis. 

Of course, one can be critical and argue that many other factors affect the development of turnover. And they do. However, now the angle was to study whether leadership and success are connected. And they are: in the units, where the turnover was below the target level, the grades in the above-mentioned sections were systematically low.

During our meeting, it was nice to observe how the customer's representatives promptly moved on to planning the practical utilization of the results.

Benefits?

During our meeting, it was nice to observe how the customer's representatives promptly moved on to planning the practical utilization of the results. Due to our long-term cooperation, Psycon has had the pleasure to produce follow-up data that the customer company can utilize in its HR marketing communications, in clarifying the selection criteria, in planning induction procedures, and in developing supervisor competence. Unambiguous facts are available for use.

Finally

Psycon is immensely proud of the customer relationship that has made the above cooperation possible. Data analysis continues and now we can, for example, study to what extent personality explains successful supervisor work and to what extent it is explained by the substance competence and leadership skills of the supervisor. We recommend that you follow Psycon’s blogs.

PS. And to get back to the heading: even if basic issues related to leadership and management were clear, it still does not make management simple. But that is a subject for another story altogether ...