Are you affected by Halo Effect?

Always question whether the “halo effect” of a business or business situation is blinding you to what lies on the horizon.” — Herbert Henkel, chairman and CEO of Ingersoll Rand

John (a manager) says to his manager Beek – “David is an excellent performer in the technical area. Can we consider promoting him as Project Lead? I think he can excel in that area too”.

Have you made any such decision as John did?

“Yes. I made. Lot of times.” would be your answer for the question. Let review what is halo effect before proceeding further.

The halo effect is “the general human tendency to let an overall impression shape specific judgments” says Phil Rosenzweig, author of The Halo Effect…and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers[1].

The halo effect refers to “How certain attributes or thoughts about a person are carried over into other situations.” says Deb Jordan.

It is the human psychology which plays a major role in these type of decision making. In everyday life, we make comments/decisions about many items which reflects ‘Halo Effect’. Formation of overall evaluation about a person in mind happens (even without conscious effort!) with fewer available information about him. Generally this is called as biased behavior or perception influenced thought process. Many of our perceptions about companies are shaped by the Halo Effect—an overall impression based on financial performance. If we set aside the Halo of overall performance and rely on objective evidence, we may see more clearly the company’s strengths and weaknesses.[2]

As an example – I like to make a direct quote of PsyBlog article[3] wordings here:

politicians use the ‘halo effect’ to their advantage by trying to appear warm and friendly, while saying little of any substance. People tend to believe their policies are good, because the person appears good.

Let us get into the topic now – What do we do as Leaders with Halo Effect?

Leadership is a relationship between leader and followers to achieve a common goal. As Leaders & Managers, we need to be cautious of the halo effect. We need to look for our own findings instead of going behind general ideas or favorable judgments. Perception should not be allowed to overshadow the fact. We need to understand success decisions are not having any predefined formula, they are situational based and more affected by persons who involved in performing the activity. We should make use of the ‘Halo Effect’ for good cause and create a positive mental attitude in followers towards the goal – hence a stronger team can be built.


1. The Halo Effect … and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers, Phil Rosenzweig, published in 2007 by Free Press –

2. The Halo Effect… and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers, Phil Rosenzweig, Free Press 2007, Companion Study guide for managers available in Website:

3. PsyBlog – The Halo Effect: When Your Own Mind is a Mystery – Tags: , ,