Lie 6: People Can Reliably Rate Other People

This is a video excerpt from The Freethinking Leader Coalition, unpacking the sixth lie in Marcus and Ashley’s upcoming book, Nine Lies about Work. To view the full video, read book excerpts, and engage with the authors, join here by pre-ordering the book. To learn more about The Freethinking Leader Coalition, click here.

Most of your experience at work is mediated through the lie that people can reliably rate other people. How you are selected, how you are promoted, how you are paid, how you are developed, and possibly how you are terminated – these all depend on somebody else’s rating of you.

And while you certainly want to have a high rating, at the very least you should expect to have an accurate one. People can’t reliably rate other people. Click To Tweet

But unfortunately, that’s not true. People are not reliable raters of other people – and we’ve known this for decades. The main reason is called the “idiosyncratic rater effect,” and it works like this: when I rate you, over 60% of your rating is about me, and not you. Which is a big problem, because we are paying, promoting, training, and deploying you based on that rating — which doesn’t reflect you. So ratings are a terrible performance measurement tool, because they claim to measure one thing but actually measure another.

Now many people think that by combining my rating of you with several (or many) other people’s ratings of you will somehow reveal the truth – but that’s also wrong. Just like noise plus noise will never equal a signal, bad data plus bad data will only ever equal more bad data. You are being paid, promoted, trained, and terminated based on false data. Click To Tweet

We are not reliable raters of other people, and we harm people – both the individuals on our team as well as all the people in our companies –when we assume that we can rate them reliably.

To learn what people can reliably rate, pre-order Nine Lies about Work and join the Freethinking Leader Coalition today.