Overcoming the fear of 360 feedback


How do you dispel the fear of 360 degree feedback?

Most people have difficulties receiving feedback. People are often resistant to change and employees are no different. Many people find it harder to receive constructive feedback than giving it. However, when given correctly, 360 feedback is a a highly effective and useful development tool that gives the employee a clear picture of his/her greatest overall strengths and weaknesses which can improve productivity and helps drive alignment within the organisation.

Now why is it that even when we know that feedback is good for us, we are still afraid of receiving and accepting it? Is the fear of giving feedback more about yourself than others?

A Research Study from Zenger Folkman found that 74% of employees who receive constructive feedback aren’t necessarily blind to the things they need to improve, they just aren’t exactly sure how to improve and not fully aware how it will affect the team. In fact, research have found that majority of employees actually want constructive feedback.

The 360 Feedback for non-managers is useful to help people be more effective in their current roles, and also to help them understand what areas they should focus on if they want to move into a management role.

1) Change your mindset towards feedback

The first step to overcome the fear of receiving feedback is to recognise your fixed mindset. If you find yourself laying blame on others for the feedback you receive, this is your rigidity pushing back. Once you recognise it, you can start resolving it and responding with a growth mindset. People with growth mindsets are more likely to take risks and overcome obstacles by seeing failure as a motivation to work harder, rather than to give up.

2) Power of habit

Another important part of overcoming the fear is to create a feedback habit. In Charles Duhiggs’ book of “The Power of Habit”: why we do, what we do in life and business: describes how neuroscientists and psychologists discovered that these impacts of habits actually wired the brains to a certain behaviours and we create new habits and behaviours. Once you are accustomed to this healthy culture of giving constructive feedback, people become more comfortable giving feedback in person. In the long run, this will help to increase spontaneous feedback and improve the organisation’s professional growth.

3) Benefits of the 360 feedback

Finally, employers should clearly communicate with their employees the benefits of the 360 in the organisation. By pointing out the numerous advantages proven through results and research have shown, employers can make employees excited about what’s new and coming rather than simply conducting a “feedback session” and falling back on old ways.

It is important to establish clearly defined roles for both the managers and the employees in the process in order to check in from time to time with employees and assess what they could do to more effectively achieve their goals.

With a clear understanding and constructive feedback given, employees are more likely to participate and more likely to give honest feedback. Employees that are given communication prior to the 360 degree feedback process are also more inclined to change as a result of the feedback they receive.

Article findings and statistics extracted from Zenger Folkman.

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