Self Appraisals are the in thing now days and many a times are considered an effective tool of finding out an employee’s self image. It is perceived that an employee appraisal helps the organization in better appraising the employee on his or her performance, skills and traits. Self appraisal is just one of the exercises in the overall process. We humans are smart hydrocarbon entities. We not only know how to project a desired image but also, know how to hide the undesirable about our selves. Before any one indulges in Self appraisal one by default has to indulge in self observation or introspection. Observing and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations to one self is called Introspection. This process relies on reasoning and examining one's own thoughts and feelings, and actions in light of one’s core values. Contemplation is another name for it, and is contrasted with extrospection, or observing things external to one's self, introspection being synonymous to self-reflection. The paradox is that it is very difficult to indulge in genuine and effective Introspection. This is so because all Introspection is carried out in the light of extrospection. It is worth mentioning here that Behaviorists consider introspection an unreliable tool of self analysis as we generally fail to see our own failings.
For further understanding of the phenomena please read my older post on this blog about the “Johari Window.” We all have areas of our personality that we desire to hide and areas that are unknown to both our self and the observer. So it can be safely deducted that we can not judge what you can not observe.
The secret of all self appraisals is hidden in the honest intention of studying one self. If the subject wants to project a desired image of him/her self, then “self appraisal” is merely a tool of expression that may not be projecting the true image of self. If the subject desires to use it as an instrument of genuine self improvement, then it has to be a continuous and honest process and a way of life requiring a great deal of moral courage and integrity.
In light of the above it is worth noting that before a corporate even considers using self appraisal as an appraisal tool it is important to work on the attitude of the work force and create in them a stronger set of positive beliefs and values. This can be done by holding regular attitudinal correction workshops or sessions. With the desirable positive values and beliefs in place, self appraisal becomes a natural personality development tool. When applied well it can have a long lasting effect on quality and production elements of any business.
Here is a beautiful story of a little boy whom I consider as an example of a person of integrity and having a fine set of beliefs and values. This is the story of a little boy called Lal. One day I saw Lal going into a general store in great haste. He went in to the store, reached for a stool, stood upon the stool and reached for the phone. He took out his two rupee coin and put it on the counter and asked the owner if he could make a call. The owner wondered as to whom and what the little boy wanted to talk to. So he just went in to his cabin and decided to listen to the conversation on the parallel line. As he gently lifted the phone of the cradle and brought it next to his ear. Lal was talking to some lady on the other side of the phone. This is what the store owner heard.
Lal, “Madam, Can you give me the job of mowing your lawn?
A lady replied, "I already have someone to mow my lawn.
" but I will mow your lawn for half the price of the person who mow’s your lawn." replied Lal.
The woman responded that she was very satisfied with the boy who already did it for her.
The little boy found more perseverance and offered, " Madam, I'll also help you walk your dog and clean the porch”.
Again the woman answered in the negative.
With a smile on his face, Lal replaced the receiver. The store-owner, who was listening, walked over to the boy and said," Son... I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job."
"No thanks," replied the boy. " I was just checking my performance with the job I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady!"
That is what I call a Self appraisal. If your values are in place you always want to improve and you will find ways and means to find out what you need to do to better your performance, and your very being. Other wise even self appraisals or any kind of appraisals are nothing more than a tool to intimidate, manipulate and control people, or just cheat one and other and only makes people perfect at building false facades to hide behind, rather than improving them. Thus I strongly advocate that, for all appraisals to be able to work, the integrity and honesty of purpose, must be in place, both for the employees and the employers. For this a lot of compassion and empathy is required on part of both the parties. To elaborate this I remember an other story where the pot is a metaphor for an employee and the water bearer is the manager. The story goes like this. A water bearer used to bring two pots filled with water to a king's palace every day in two large pots, each hung on two sides of a bamboo. One of the pots he carried had a small hole in it. This pot could never reach the palace brim full of water palace where as the other pot delievered a brim full of water every day. This went on for days. The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments where as the the pot with the hole got sad as it could never deliever the quantiy of water that was expected of it. After an year of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, he spoke to the water bearer and said, "I am ashamed of myself and apologize to you for having delivered only half of my capacity because of this hole in me. .
The water bearer felt sorry for the pot and filled with compassion he said, "As we get back to the palace today I want you to notice the beautiful flowers growing along our path , and notice that the flowers grow only on your side of the path and not on the other side?
I always knew of the hole in you. Its only my fault that i could not repair it, nor could I get it repaired. [ In managerial parlance as a manager neither could I train you to improve the situation, nor could I outsource some training effort to fill up the gaps.] ... So I decided to turn your curse in to a blessing. [ a metaphor for good management.] ... I planted flowers on your side of the walk. This way I have been decorating the palace vases with beautiful flowers and made the king very happy. But for your little flaw I could never have thought of the flowers. So dont worry I still admire you and believe in you. The story teaches us that management is not just about hiring and firing people, because real life people are not zuzus after all. Management is getting the best out of people by encouraging them to do their best and letting them know that inspite of their little flaws they are precious. This way they shall deliever their best. Dont forget that even a pot with a hole can be advantageously utilised.
My personal experience is that the inspite of all the appraisals the best thing to move a person in the desirable direction can just be done by using these four words-
These four immensly motivating words if used at the right time and for the right purpose will not only motivate people to do their best but also motivate them to be the best that they can be.
By Balwant Gurunay


  1. Prerna, Chandigarh.6 May 2009 at 02:29

    How simple to understand and nice you have made it. I believe in you.
    You are a Guru gurunay

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