How Am I Doing? The Case for Job Performance Reviews PART 4

Continuing discussion about Factors influencing rating errors:

Leniency or Generosity Error

This attitude involves high ratings for most employees, perhaps because of a reluctance to “rock the boat”

by seeming too critical. A harried leader may find it much easier and certainly more pleasant to offer unconditional praise to others than to bring up instance of substandard performance.


The opposite of leniency. This is the tendency to be too harsh when rating others.

Stereotyping or Initial Impression

This may be the hardest type of error to deal with. Stereotypes may be either conscious or subconscious;

often we may be unfairly biased toward an employee without actually being aware of the bias. First

impressions really do make lasting impressions. Because of this, it is extremely important to base any

evaluation on observable, objective behaviors rather than subjective opinions.

Projection or Similarity Error

“Birds of a feather flock together.” It’s easier to realize that we tend to like people who are like us and to

dislike people who are unlike us. This can become a problem in the rating process when we give high

scores to employees because they either consciously “remind me of myself,” or low scores when they don’t.

Spillover Error

Allowing past evaluations to reflect either positively or negatively on the current rating, even though actual

behavior during the current rating period has not been the same.

Inter-individual Error

Basing each employee’s evaluation on a comparison with others. This can be especially unfair since one

employee may have received very high marks because of favorable circumstances rather than actual


Author: maxbinkley

Creator of Leadership to the Max My experience in the military helped set the career path for me in human resources. After the military I worked for The Dow Chemical Company and left there in 1993 to venture out on my own. I purchased a small business, then a franchise then started another business in semi-retirement.

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