Webinar: Debriefing 360-degree Feedback

During this webcast we’ll share the best methods for debriefing and coaching from the results of a 360-degree feedback survey. The course prepares HR professionals to coach individuals, interpret individual and group reports, and guide the development planning and follow-up with participants.

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Post Traumatic Growth – Recognizing Opportunity in Adversity

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”

– Ernest Hemingway

In the mid-1990’s, two psychologists working at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, coined a new term for a long-observed phenomenon. The term was, “post-traumatic growth”, or PTG. Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun created the term to refer to growth as a possible outcome of experiencing crisis or adversity. The idea is that when a person faces trauma, the act of struggling with the reality of the hardship can lead to positive change. Or, as Nietzsche put it, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” 

By experiencing hardship, we often must become more than we currently are, in order to adapt and survive. Think of the most challenging times in your life. Did you struggle? Did you learn? Were you the same person afterwards? Chances are, you developed resilience, picked up some new tricks, and learned from your mistakes. In other words, you grew. The crisis might not have been a pleasant experience, but it did create the opportunity for you to grow. As Benjamin Franklin said, “The things that hurt, instruct.”

PTG is focused on the growth of individuals, but the concept of growth and development catalyzed by hardship can also be applied to organizations. When organizational crisis or change occurs, it takes a toll on morale and employee engagement. Change is hard. We get comfortable in familiar, stable environments. During a transition, we experience increased anxiety as we struggle towards an uncertain future. We often fear the worst possible scenarios and outcomes. However, within the discomfort of change lies the opportunity for us to grow.

I’ve heard it put this way, “There is no growth in our comfort zone, and no comfort in our growth zone.”  To improve as individuals or organizations, we have to be challenged beyond our current comfort level. And don’t worry, the challenges–both professional and personal–will come. But how can leaders support individuals and teams as they struggle and grow? I have two suggestions for leaders:

1. Monitor and balance the challenges placed on teams and individuals.

Some growth is only possible through experiencing challenging situations. Yvon Chouinard, CEO and founder of Patagonia, values a crisis. In fact, he goes much further than just appreciating the challenges as they come, he actively creates them. In his book Let My People Go Surfing, he states that a company must “constantly stress itself in order to grow.”  And, “when there is no crisis, the wise leader or CEO will invent one. Not by crying wolf, but by challenging the employees with change.” 

I’m not advocating the idea of burying employees in adversity. Too much change or challenge at once can overwhelm and burnout even the best of us. However, there is value in providing stretch assignments to teams and individuals–to push them to explore more of their potential. Consider providing a new challenge to a team when you feel they’ve become too comfortable and are at risk of slipping into complacency.

2. Help employees recognize the opportunities within the challenges they face.

When someone is struggling with something, it can be hard to “look on the bright side” and to see the gifts within the hardship. Gaining some perspective can help individuals navigate the bumpy roads ahead. Managers can help employees see specific opportunities as they take on new challenges.

My colleague, David Long, has written an excellent blog entry entitled, “5 Growth Conversations to Engage and Retain Your Employees.” One of the five conversations Dave mentions is called, “framing.” Within a framing conversation, a manager helps an employee recognize the growth opportunities that lie within a challenging assignment or situation. To quote Dave’s article:

“Employees taking on challenges need positive framing. Without framing, some of the benefit of the challenge is lost. People still grow, they just don’t view the growth as positive.”

A tactful manager can help employees get more out of difficult assignments by connecting-the-dots to growth along the way. In one of my favorite books, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, the author states, “Through our perception of events, we are complicit in the creation – as well as the destruction – of every one of our obstacles.” Effectively framing conversations can help employees form healthier perceptions of the challenges they face.

Continued growth is key to finding engagement and happiness in our work. Being challenged means we are continuing to grow. A sense of continued growth and development is essential in fostering healthy employee engagement within an organization. Change, challenges, and hardships are a part of professional life. Learn to identify and embrace the hidden opportunities for growth within. Frederick Douglas captured it well, “where there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

Podcast: Managing the Workload of Your Team

In this podcast episode, DecisionWise Principal Consultant Dan Hoopes, M.S.O.D., discusses the topic of managing the workload of your team.

As managers, it can be a real challenge finding the right balance between employees being productive and burning out. Dan offers some great tips and suggestions to help achieve this balance, such as helping your team members think through efficiencies in the processes involved with their work, consistently checking on the stress levels of your team members so you can shift resources towards those who need extra help, and creating growth opportunities with the way projects are assigned.

Learn about these tips and more in this insightful conversation.

Additional listening: Managing Stress with Your Employees

Infographic: 7 Benefits of 360-Degree Feedback

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360-degree feedback surveys benefit leadership, teams, and the entire organization immediately. By providing a safe, confidential, and reliable way for colleagues to provide feedback, a company gains valuable, actionable insights into current leadership, teams, and overall health of the organization.

Here are 7 benefits your organization will receive by participating in 360-degree feedback.

1. Increase Self-Awareness

Self-awareness means UNDERSTANDING your personality, including your strengths, weaknesses, beliefs, motivations, thoughts, and emotions.

Our research shows people generally score themselves lower than their supervisor and their direct reports score them. Wouldn’t it be nice to know people think HIGHER of you than you think of yourself?

2. Clarifies Behaviors

The very act of asking about behaviors teaches what is IMPORTANT to the organization. Additionally, it allows you to see if you are FOCUSING superfluous effort on a behavior you are already doing well, possibly at the expense of improving a weaker behavior.

3. Measures How Things Get Done

Opposed to measuring “what” gets done. Nothing is ever a guarantee. By focusing on PROCESS, you are giving yourself the best probability of creating the desired outcome.

There is also the added bonus of REPEATABILITY and PREDICTABILITY.

4. Promotes Dialogue

Dialogue is the first step in moving from measurement to improvement. Ideally, that dialogue would EXPLORE strengths and weaknesses and continue with goals and a plan for IMPROVEMENT.

In addition to a supervisor, the dialogue might also include peers and employees, if appropriate.

5. Improves Working Relationships

Performance feedback is something that is often one-sided or altogether missing. By introducing a RECIPROCAL exchange of feedback into a relationship, another touch point for SUPPORT is created.

6. Encourages Personal Development

Honest and reliable feedback is necessary to test one’s PERCEPTIONS, recognize overlooked strengths, and expose perceptual blind-spots. By providing easy, digestible areas to EXAMINE, leaders will naturally grasp onto them in order to continue their improvement.

7. Increases Accountability

The enemy of accountability is AMBIGUITY. You can’t tell someone to “be a better leader” without providing specifics. 360-degree feedback surveys CLARIFY behaviors and allow you to make a judgment on whether or not that behavior was demonstrated.

Further Reading: https://decision-wise.com/benefits-of-360-degree-feedback/

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Podcast: Managing Team Relationships

In this podcast episode, DecisionWise Principal Consultant Dan Hoopes, M.S.O.D., discusses the topic of managing team relationships inside organizations.

  • How do you get your employees to enjoy working with the people on their team?
  • How do you increase a spirit of collaboration and trust?
  • How do you navigate conflicts and different personality styles that clash with each other?

Learn the answer to these questions and more in this insightful conversation.

Podcast: Diversity and Inclusion

In this podcast episode, DecisionWise Principal Consultant Beth Wilkins, Ph.D., discusses the topic of diversity and inclusion inside organizations.

Although many organizations have gotten better at recruiting and retaining diverse talent, there is still much progress to be made in the area of inclusion. Many still lack ethnically and gender diverse leadership teams, despite the strong evidence that doing so will increase an organization’s overall performance.

Beth makes the case that executives need to pay attention to these often neglected and marginalized groups and provides concrete ways organizations can create initiatives to change attitudes and perceptions, and ultimately create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Additional Resources

Podcast: Fairness and Respect

In this podcast episode, DecisionWise consultants Dan Deka and Charles Rogel discuss how managers can improve fairness and respect in the workplace. They touch on consistency with how you interact with employees but also responding to their individual needs and involving employees in decisions that impact them.

10 Tips for Using 360 Degree Feedback for Performance Appraisal

Originally used almost exclusively for developmental purposes, using 360-degree feedback for purposes other than employee development increased significantly over the past decade. One application increasing in popularity is the use of multirater feedback for performance appraisal. Whether one agrees with it or not, economic reality has caused an increasing number of organizations to begin using 360-degree feedback for appraisal rather than exclusively for development.

10 Tips for Using 360 Degree Feedback for Performance Appraisal

A number of organizations have successfully used 360-degree feedback for their performance appraisals and have noted great benefit from this. These organizations appear to share a common process that helps them succeed where others fail. Companies can use the following tips to smooth the way:

  1. Recognize the differences in use and purpose of 360s for performance vs. 360s for appraisal: Understanding that scores will differ depending on the purpose will help in determining how best to use and interpret the scores.
  2. Communicate the purpose and process: Let employees know the intended purpose before administering the assessments as well as how the results will be used. Communicate the process and hold to it.
  3. Use a pilot group: Using a pilot group before rolling the survey out to the full organization allows for refinement of the process and of the instruments used.
  4. Do not use the organization’s first 360 process as an appraisal process. Start with using 360s for development: Although some organizations successfully use 360s for appraisal on the first 360 roll-out, most have waited 12-18 months before tying 360s to compensation and administrative action. This allows people to become more comfortable giving feedback before the feedback has consequences.
  5. Select the appropriate raters: It is critical to ensure that selected raters have regular interaction with the employee being rated and can provide accurate feedback as to performance.
  6. Use small but relevant rater groups: Multirater appraisals involve much of the organization in terms of providing feedback. Limit the number of raters to minimize the time spent on survey completion across the organization.
  7. Consider and communicate the rating scale: A 7-point Likert-type scale is generally more effective than a 5-point scale.
  8. Keep the survey short: Design a survey that is short enough that it can be completed in 15 minutes or less.
  9. Use a customized survey: Multi-rater assessment for development should include questions geared at behavior (the how), whereas appraisal assessments can focus more on operational performance (the what).
  10. Provide a score for each question, not just each section: Rather than providing scores for each survey item, many appraisals solicit one overall score for the category. When this is the case, it is often difficult or an employee to know which area of a category is being addressed. Be specific in scoring.

360-Degree Feedback Survey Download