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Getting objective social feedback
South Park Blue Suit
An interesting discussion came up tonight in one of my softer classes that evoked a bit of thought. In particular, we had to perform a homework assignment (due today) which involved self-assessment of 18 emotional competencies (a la Goleman) on a 5 point scale. In class, the question was raised about how well our self assessment matches our peer assessment.

This led to the even bigger question of how to solicit feeback from peers to help identify strenghts and weeknesses in a way that is socially non-intrusive and relatively unbiased. Clearly asking someone to rank another person on a scale from 1-5 is a bit dangerous - as it carries an implicit threat of backlash.

The approach advocated by the guy teaching the course is to take a broad list of characteristics and have people identify which N are your best and worst (where as a rule of thum, 2N is < 50% of the total number of characteristics). I decided to give it a shot with a friend and had him give me the top and bottom 4 of the following 18 options (taken from the class materials... see http://www.samdeep.com for info on the source...):

1 Recognizes the impact that my feelings have on my moods and my behavior.
2 Knows my strengths and limitations.
3 Knows the impact I have on others: how they see me.
4 Keeps disruptive emotions and impulses in check.
5 Accepts responsibility for the impact of my actions.
6 Is open to change and am comfortable with new ideas and approaches.
7 Persists in the face of obstacles and setbacks.
8 Strives for excellence and continuous improvement.
9 Moves on opportunities and takes action when that's the thing to do.
10 Senses other's feelings, perspectives, and concerns and take an active interest in them.
11 Plays an active role in developing others.
12 Accurately reads the emotional currents and the power relationships within groups.
13 Builds effective personal bonds in instrumental relationships.
14 Can influence and persuade others.
15 Collaborates with others in the pursuit of shared goals.
16 Negotiates and resolves disagreements and conflict.
17 Initiates and manages change effectively.
18 Gives constructive criticism when appropriate and imposes consequences when necessary.

I'm kinda curious if his top and bottom 4 match other's perceptions.