5 reasons to invest in a superior 360 feedback process
Before sharing the five reasons to invest in a superior 360 feedback process, let’s establish what the 360 feedback process needs to have to be effective.
- There needs to be complete confidentiality in the process. This goes beyond the comments not being attributable to the respondents of the 360 feedback; this is about keeping their responses confidential at all times.
- The respondents need to be truthful and keep their comments productive without having to worry that they are bruising the self-esteem of the feedback recipient.
- When the process is implemented, HR and the feedback recipient’s supervisor need to be transparent with the recipient, his coach and the respondents on the purpose of the 360 leadership review process. Be specific.
- Customise the 360 leadership survey to reflect the company’s language, vision, mission, and valued competencies. Take this into consideration when selecting your vendor and setting aside a budget.
- Have a proper follow-up process in place. Without it, the recipient may not be able to put the feedback to good use. And if the respondents notice that the recipient has not made any changes based on their feedback, future respondents may hesitate to participate in such exercises or if they do, may give only obligatory responses instead of being authentic.
What needs to be established here is that what makes the difference is investing in the 360 feedback process and not just the tool.
You may have invested in a great tool but without engaging in the 360 feedback process, the leaders of your organisation may have missed an opportunity to grow intentionally. And your organisation may have missed an opportunity to grow into becoming an extraordinary one.
Now let’s take a look at five reasons you should invest in a superior 360 feedback process.
Reason 1: Expands self-awareness – the first component of emotional intelligence
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” — Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
Emotional intelligence – your ability to recognise, understand, and manage your own emotions – is a must-have skill for leaders. The first component of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Self-awareness is about understanding how you feel and how these feelings can impact your co-workers. When self-aware, you are able to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and emotions.
A 360 degree feedback process expands the recipient’s self-awareness as they find out more about their strengths and weaknesses through the eyes of their co-workers. When leaders engage in a multi-rater feedback like a 360 assessment, they can be pleasantly surprised by the differences between their own opinions of themselves and the observations of others.
Reason 2: Increases the importance and credibility of feedback given in the past
“Wait a minute, I’ve heard that before. My kids/spouse/siblings have said that about me too. WOW! It must be true if so many of my co-workers are saying the same!”
When administered well with a dozen or more respondents participating in it, a 360 assessment reiterates important messages to the assessment recipient as more people collectively observe the same behaviour. The feedback becomes louder and clearer to him.
Source: Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash
Reason 3: Increases the chances of the leader changing his behaviour
This is especially so if several leaders go through the process together. When they do, they become far more responsive to feedback and a different or new perspective.
With the 360 assessment, leaders can either change their behaviour or reframe how they see themselves.
Take James, for example: he found out through a 360 assessment that his staff found him to be more critical of their work than encouraging. When engaging in a work review meeting, James became more aware of this and held back his criticisms at the onset of the discussion. Instead, he took the time to understand how the staff came up with the piece of work and how it would meet the team’s goal. His discussions with his staff became more engaging. If James immediately criticised the staff’s work on the onset, people’ views of him would be accurate.
Reason 4: Establishes a solid relationship between leadership behaviour and business performance
When you invest in a top-quality 360 degree feedback assessment process, not tool, the leader is more motivated to change his behaviour as he understands how it can result in better business performance.
For example, the best 360 degree feedback assessments measure the current level of engagement and commitment of the leader’s direct reports. In the chart below, it is evident that a greater leadership effectiveness score results in more engaged direct reports. When a leader is made to understand this, he is more motivated to alter his behaviour.
Reason 5: Creates a domino effect from a single leader’s performance improvement
Once a leader showcases improvements in his leadership effectiveness score, other leaders in the organisation are motivated to do the same. This ripple effect is not just a one-off effect. It lasts a long time.
Research from Zenger Folkman shows that if the leadership effectiveness scores of the top team are just above average, then the successive layer below them will have lower scores. Conversely, if scores of the top team are at the upper percentile; the scores are higher at every successive level below them.
Reap the benefits of investing in a solid 360 feedback process
Investing in a 360 feedback process, not tool, takes time, effort, careful consideration and a serious commitment to follow through the process.
When carried out well, we have found that the individual and the company reap the benefits. And the benefits flow down not only to the various organisational levels but also in the individual’s personal life.
“360 feedback is the most valuable part which really helped me to understand better my strengths and weaknesses. Getting a 360 degree report provides a clear picture of people’s perception of you and what you think of yourself – big treasure. It lets us identify opportunities for improvement – better communication and work relationships at different levels.” Monica Ai, Operations VP, Antolin (China) Investment Co., Ltd, participant of The Extraordinary Leader™ programme.
A 360 assessment process expands the leader’s self-awareness and increases the importance and credibility of feedback previously given to him. It would be well worth the while if the process is taken together as a team of peers as this increases the likelihood for a change in behaviour. Working with a coach to make those behavioural changes will also contribute to this likelihood as the coach holds the leaders accountable for their commitments to the changes. The coach is also part of a follow-up process to establish that he does.
You will see that over time, the business performance is affected positively when the people engage in a choice 360 leadership process.
©Published by Lifeskills Institute Pte Ltd
Lifeskills Institute is the strategic partner of Zenger Folkman for Singapore and Malaysia. Our Chief Enabling Officer, Ian Tan is a Master Facilitator certified by Zenger Folkman.
Zenger Folkman is a strengths-based leadership development company helping leaders elevate their people and organisations. Co-founders Dr. Jack Zenger and Dr. Joe Folkman utilise empirical data and behavioural evidence to help leaders become extraordinary.
Source: Photo by Esperanza Doronila on Unsplash