man explains why it's bad for manager to never give 4 out of 4 in evaluations tiktok


Manager never gives employees 4 out of 4s on performance evaluations because ‘everyone has room for improvement,’ sparking debate

‘As a mid level manager I was told that we can’t give 4/4 ever.’


Natasha Dubash

Internet Culture

TikTok user Eric (@businesscoacheric) recounted a conversation with a nightmarish-sounding manager who once told him that they never give their employees a full score on their performance evaluations because “everyone has room for improvement.”

Eric’s video was in response to one posted by TikTok user Katrina (@coach2elevate), in which she asked, “What’s the most toxic thing a leader at your company has ever said to you?” The question prompted other creators to share their work horror stories, and Eric’s video received over 557,000 views as of this writing.

@businesscoacheric #stitch with @coach2elevate The Performance Evaluation process needs to be clear and consistent. #businessmadesimple #corporate #leadership #manager #wfh #rto #greatresignation #toxicboss #performanceevaluation ♬ original sound – Eric | Leadership & Marketing

According to Eric, the leader gave two reasons for this. “One he said that everyone has room for improvement,” which meant that he could not give a 4 out of 4 without giving his employees an incentive to push themselves. 

Two, the leader told Eric that, “’exceeds expectations’ is actually his expectation.” Eric goes on to explain that despite knowing that he would not be awarding full scores on any evaluations, the manager expected his employees “to go above and beyond exceptions,” for everything they did at the company.

However, while the leader may have thought that this created an environment of diligent workers and healthy competition, Eric explains that this expectation, “creates an incredibly toxic working environment.” This is because if a leader doesn’t set goals for his employees, “you have no idea how to clearly achieve the thing that your boss wants you to achieve.” 

This creates a “mindset that no matter how hard you work, no matter what you do, you can never actually be recognized for doing good work.” The TikToker signs off by asking his viewers if they’ve ever experienced this attitude from their own managers during employee performance evaluations. 

Many users resonated with Eric’s story and shared their own experiences with company reviews.

“I’ve had manager[s] give me less than 4/4 and then they couldn’t give me any areas for improvement,” one employee recalled about their own evaluations. “Makes sense, right?”

“Every time and then they use the same evaluations as justification for not giving a raise or cost of living increases,” another wrote.

Even supervisors chimed in with their own stories about how they’re instructed not to give employees full scores on performance evaluations. “As a mid level manager I was told that we can’t give 4/4 ever,” one admitted.

“If I give you a 4/4 even if you deserve it, I can’t because then I have to give someone on the team a lower eval. 2/4 score…reason was budget,” another divulged. “Oof. So much for honest and useful feedback,” Eric retorted.

“I want to work for a company that gives accurate evaluations,” one user lamented, to which Eric replied, “Could you imagine.” 

Many also pointed out the hypocrisy of managers not giving employees a full score for their evaluations, but that employees were expected to give their companies full marks when the shoe was on the other foot. 

“Yup so I just stopped trying when they said 3/5 was the best they will give. Then when I evaluated them and gave a 3/5 they were outraged,” one person wrote.

“Same!!!!!! My company doesn’t believe in 4s for an employee butttttt if you’re rating them on a survey they want nothing but 4s,” recounted another user, to which Eric responded saying, “Hypocrisy.”

“That’s why people are quietly quitting,” wrote one user, referring to the growing phenomenon of employees taking a stand against going above and beyond by doing the bare minimum at their jobs.

The Daily Dot reached out to Eric via Instagram direct message.

Update 5:20pm CT Oct. 10, 2022: Eric told the Daily Dot that one of the best ways to kill employee engagement in your company or on your team is to set “unclear, inconsistent, or impossible expectations.”

“If there’s no clear and consistent route to be recognized as a top performer, then you’ll chase out top performers in your organization,” he wrote via Instagram direct message. “At best, your people will quietly quit (just do the bare minimum), at worst they’ll quit outright – and others will follow.”

He explained that with so many people resonating with this experience “goes to show that this is a huge management issue that organizations need to deal with, especially in the great resignation/quiet quitting employee revolution.”

The Daily Dot