The Team Building Directory

Advice and information about all things team buiding

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360 Degree Feedback: Understand the Concepts and Benefits

It’s hard to imagine a manager who doesn’t understand the importance of regular appraisals and feedback sessions, and yet many still use outdated one-on-one methods. Instead, you should consider a 360-degree feedback method.

What is 360-Degree Feedback?

Most of the time, appraisals involve speaking to one superior. As a manager, you will probably have spoken to other people about the employee in question, but all feedback will come through you. 360-degree feedback turns that idea on its head. Rather than receiving feedback through only one person, the employee will receive feedback from multiple people – most experts suggest around eight to twelve.
The reports they receive are both confidential and anonymous, so you don’t need to worry about ill-feeling developing as a result of overzealous constructive criticism. Essentially, feedback forms will ask questions covering a broad range of competencies, and the person providing feedback will also generally be asked to fill out their own self-rating survey that includes the same survey questions.
Though every 360-degree appraisal is different, most will:

  • Assess behaviours and competencies
  • Address key skills, such as planning, listening, and goal setting
  • Consider more subjective areas, such as leadership effectiveness
  • Show how others perceive each employee

So, why should you consider adopting the 360-degree feedback method?

Prompts Dialogue

If you want the interactions between and competencies of your employees to become stronger, you need to start a line of dialogue. Granted, employees won’t actually be speaking to each other, but that’s a good thing. If feedback was direct, heated exchanges could follow. When an anonymous report is provided, you can calmly talk through the strengths and weaknesses that were discussed in the report. You act as an intermediary between the employee in question and those who had cause for complaint.

Highlights Problem Behaviours

People sometimes assume they are performing or behaving at a higher level than they really are. When one measure is high, it’s easy to assume that the rest are also at least acceptable. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The best thing about going 360 is receiving information not just about what is done but how it is done. You start to focus on the process rather than the outcome, and that’s where problem behaviours can impact growth.

Added Accountability

Some employees will be very respectful towards you and yet not extend that level of respect to their co-workers. This is not good for morale or overall productivity, but it can be tough for managers to catch. When everyone knows 360-degree appraisals are being created, they’ll understand that they need to be nice to everyone.

Aims at Personal Development

360-degree appraisals provide a very clear and rounded image of how people perceive you. Since this is the case, you’ll generally find that each report points out the good as well as the bad. You may find yourself discovering unsuspected strengths in one of your team members. In any case, 360-degree appraisals are perfect for encouraging personal development because they provide a very accurate image.