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Friday, December 21, 2012

Givers And Takers

Imagine a continuum from one to one hundred. A one equates to someone so selfish they take but never give to others. One hundred equates to someone so selfless they give but never take from others. Where would you plot yourself on this continuum? Where would others place you?

In my last seven years working full time, one of the tools I used was a 360 degree assessment. The people in my program were asked to assess themselves on about 60 different skills, using a scale of one to five. Example of a skill to be assessed? Handling conflict. Supervisors, subordinates, colleagues and others then used that same scale to assess (anonymously) the people in my program on those same 60 skills. Part of my job was to debrief with these people a printed report showing how their own perception of each of their skills lined up with the perceptions others had of those skills. As I'm sure you'd guess, some of these conversations were difficult.

Following a recent interaction, it occurred to me how instructive it would be to have a 360 assessment on just the one issue posed in my opening paragraph. Where would family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, others place me on a taker vs. giver continuum? How aligned or mis-aligned would my view of myself be with others? And, who would be brave enough to show me my report and offer to debrief it with me? 

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