Catalyst for Leader Development: The Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback Program

  • Colonel Kevin A. McAninch

To be successful in the dynamic global security environment of the 21st century the United States Army must retain and develop its talent: its people. The Army places a premium on leadership and developing leaders through the best possible education, training and experiences. The Army’s 360-degree assessment tool, the Multisource Assessment and Feedback (MSAF), provides feedback to leaders on how well they are leading and gives leaders an opportunity to engage in self-development. However, the MSAF is not currently seen or utilized as a catalyst for the learning and development of leaders, and analysis shows there are negative trends with the program. Additionally, the leader competency of developing others is consistently rated as poor. Negative perceptions by the force regarding the MSAF’s utility have given rise to a high percentage of officers initiating an MSAF event only to fulfill the regulatory requirement of including a date on their officer evaluation report. In light of this, the Army has an opportunity to stop lying to itself and add needed structure to ensure the learning sticks, and that the organization doesn’t fall victim to the creation of a leadership gap in the formation.