I am a zealot about the 360-degree feedback tool of performance management.
360 feedback is not new, but in my leadership experience, it is one of the most effective methods of assessing how you perform your responsibilities, and what you need to do to improve.
And it works for all sizes of business and not-for-profits.
There are two components of performance management that benefit from feedback.
- Performance Evaluation
The assessment of HOW you do your job: your behaviours and competencies, how others perceive you, your listening, planning, and goal-setting skills and other dimensions such as teamwork, character, and leadership effectiveness.
- Performance Development
Determining the things you need to do to improve your performance in the future.
360 Feedback provides a view of your performance not only from your boss but also from your peers and colleagues in the organization that interact with you on a regular basis.
Your peers provide the most honest appraisal of how you perform your responsibilities; next on the ‘honest scale’ are your colleagues and the least is your boss.
It’s not that your boss is incompetent, it’s just that they don’t get to see you every day doing your thing as others do. They see a snapshot of you in action when you are typically performing for them.
In addition, your boss may be seeing your behavior through rose-colored glasses, but your peers don’t. And they are not shy about giving you the feedback you need to hear.
For performance development, 360 Feedback provides a multi-dimensional view of what improvements are needed.
Dysfunctional behaviors are identified – with no holds barred – along with specific strengths and other weaknesses that need to be addressed.
To get the most personal payback from 360 feedback, follow these steps:
1. Make Your Target Audience as Robust as Possible
You want an unbiased view of how you are doing which can only come from abroad and a deep sample of contributors.
In addition to your boss, I suggest oversampling the number of peers on your list; they will typically be the most forthcoming respondents.
2. Include Other Key Individuals in the Organization
The individuals who are impacted by your work and who see you operate regularly. I always included frontline service and salespeople to get their perspective on how well I was supporting them in my marketing role.
3. Try to Include Your Boss’s Peer Group
Only if they are willing. Certainly, look to the other functional area in the organization you are interested in and will most likely be applying to as a candidate in the future.
4. Explain What You Are Doing and Why You Are Doing It
5. Ask for Feedback Every Six Months
It’s really not that useful for getting an annual view. People change roles and they come and go. You want a running video from those you currently engage with on how you are performing, not periodic snapshots from a group of people who have no continuity with you.
6. Communicate Your Results to Your Feedback Audience
Tell them where you rated well and where you need to improve. You don’t have to talk about numbers, just the subject matter areas included in the questionnaire – “Keeps me continually informed on product improvements” would be an example.
You may find this uncomfortable, but in particular, sharing your weaknesses is viewed by others as gutsy and an expression of confidence and leadership they will notice and not forget.
7. Build a Feedback Action Plan
Address your shortfalls and continue to strengthen what you do well.
8. Communicate Your Action Plan to Your Feedback Audience
Make sure they all know what you intend to do to improve your results.
360. A simple concept with amazing results.