Take a 360 Look
Are you aware of how coworkers, managers, and supervisees view your behaviors, strengths and weaknesses as a professional? Like most people, you probably believe you have a good understanding of how other employees are perceiving you. Research tells us that we are likely to overestimate how competent we are, and there is most likely a gap between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. Our own experiences, emotions and beliefs cloud our perception of ourselves. Collecting feedback from a variety of people allows a more accurate look at your own effectiveness. When 360° feedback is received, we become more aware of our own strengths and weaknesses and can make adjustments to better lead those around us.
Feedback is Fuel for Self-Awareness
The 360° feedback assessment is a leader development tool that we recommend using as part of a larger performance management process to help professionals better understand their strengths and opportunities for growth. Questions used on the 360° assessment tool should be focused on behaviors and overall competence in areas such as listening, planning, teamwork, character and leadership. This is not the best way to measure technical skills or employee performance objectives such as attendance or sales quotas. The survey should be designed to provide insight into the skills and beliefs that support the organization’s desired values and standards of behavior.
Peers are less likely to provide honest feedback directly to a supervisor because they fear how the supervisor will react. By providing peers, supervisors and supervisees an opportunity to give feedback confidentially and anonymously, we are more likely to get valuable information about opportunities for personal growth. It’s important to get multiple perspectives from each area. For example, more than one supervisor, peer and supervisee should participate to get the most accurate assessment of the person’s strengths and opportunities for development. The more feedback received, the more reliable it will be collectively. Those who are asked to participate should be people who interact routinely with the leader receiving feedback.
Questions on the 360° feedback assessment are usually answered using a 5-point rating scale with an area for written comments. The person receiving the feedback takes the same self-assessment so the results can be compared to participants in a report. It is normal for there to be a gap between where a person perceives themselves and how others perceive them. Those gaps or blind spots are areas where a behavior adjustment may need to be made or a skill can be further developed. This valuable feedback allows us to be more effective in our current roles and provides an individual information for how to enhance their career. This data is then used to create a personal development plan resulting in stronger teams and greater success at work.
Take a 360° Look in 3 Steps:
Explain How the Feedback is Used
- Anonymous, honest feedback is collected to measure a leader’s strengths and identify opportunities for development.
- A positive problem-solving tool to provide individuals with valuable feedback for growth.
Select Participants & Collect Feedback
- The organization and leader work together to select feedback providers including supervisors, peers, supervisees and customers.
- At least 8 different feedback providers are recommended.
- Administer an anonymous survey internally or through a third-party service to collect feedback.
- Each leader will also complete a self-assessment.
Review Feedback & Plan for Development
- The feedback is provided in a report along with the self-assessment results.
- A supervisor or human resource staff member who is taught to assist people with understanding their feedback should review the report with the employee.
- Based on gaps between the employee’s self-assessment and the others’ ratings, develop a plan of action to improve areas needing attention.
- Reports can also contain data to compare participants to those in the top quartile and top 10%.